A second ship exacerbated the density of oil leaks in the port of Aden
40 metric tons of leaked oil at Aden port
Aden: "HJF" Bassam Al- Qadhi: translation of Fuad Gubari
While oil spills from the ship (Athens - Pearl of Athena) which related to an Overseas Company that owned by an oil dealer called Ahmad Al-Asa's, still seeing its effects in the coast of Aden until the moment of publishing this investigation, while satellite images also reveal a new oil leak, and another sinking ship alongside the ship (DIA 1) which sunk last year, in addition to the indicators that monitoring a beginning of third ship sinking.
The oil spill increasing intensively
As the open sources for tracking the 12 perishing ships via satellite, reveal that the oil spill from Athena has been expanding and increasing with a very frightening intensity, as the oil spill extended to an area of approximately 51 km, or about 5.7 nautical mile, while satellites display that the existence of a new oil spill coming from stale ships that anchored for many years ago at the mooring of Aden International Port.
However, the estimates of marine and environmental science experts indicate that the amount of oil spill from Athena reached to 40 metric tons of oil, which causes an additional environmental burden on the already damaged local marine ecosystems that have not yet recovered from the leak and sinking of the Dia1 tanker, which threatens Aden by major environmental and marine disasters.
Marine and environmental experts (who preferred not to be identified) assert that the existence of the 12 dilapidated, sunken and substandard ships in Aden Port mooring and using them as floating fuel tanks despite their unsafe and end-of-life realy poses a serious threat to the environment, coasts, marine life and so the Aden city's population as a whole.
The beginning of discovering the clues of the disaster
At the first week of July 2022, a fisherman in Al-Heswa region reported that he saw an oil pollution in Tawahi Gulf on Al-Farisi Coast, and based on that report, the Public Authority for Environmental Protection send verification team to the field on 7 of July of the same month to verify the incident and survey the coastal area at Al-Boraiqa bridge west of Aden.
The report of the team has corroborated a case of oil pollution, according to the report the case occurred in the area of Aden Port during the first five days of July, causing the oil to spread along the tidal region of Al-Farisi Coast with a length of about 1 kilometer, where the substance appeared most clearly at the highest sea level on the coast, while the team’s field landing coincided the subsidence of the sea (a state of ebb tide), which showed clearly the occurrence of the pollutant on the sides of fiberglass boats, it's anchors and mooring ropes, and the petroleum substance was found also on the shallow water area exposed on nylon bags, and plastic water bottles which thrown around the beach.
The report of the Public Authority for Environmental Protection specialist team confirms that, "by our collecting the information from fishermen in the area about the pollution incident, we were informed that it happened about 4 days ago (meaning that the oil spill began on the second or third of July 2022), and that the substance was from one of the ships that parked in the port".
Eyewitnesses document the disaster
The same environmental protection report stated that the pollution situation is a frequent scene of the critical marine environment in Tawahi Gulf, due to the occurrence of many dilapidated ships that have been parking and sinking for many years ago, including oil tankers, while Tawahi Gulf (area at Aden Port) related as a rich area of diverse marine organisms of fish and invertebrates of crustaceans, mollusks and others, which threatens the marine biodiversity in this region, and so threatens the livelihoods of many fishermen that live in the vicinity which depends on fishing as the sole income source of their family lives, and securing the livelihood of a large number of them.
Along the coastline of the city of Al-Boraiqa, west of the capital Aden, the effects of the oil spill are visible to the public, starting from the shores of the Al-Heswa region to the Al-Boraiqa Kood and beyond the Al-Boraiqa Bridge, while is case recognized by the coast-goers and fishermen of the Al-Heswa region and many people live in Al-Boraiqa district.
In turn, the well-known fisherman in Aden called Ahmed bin Amer, confirms his observation of oil leaks in the coasts of Aden, which began on the second of July, and the spills are still seen today, noting that the leakage of oil greatly harms marine life, it prevents the sea from supplying oxygen, and that the damages in the marine environment extends depending on the amount of oil spilled and sea currents.
A media campaign that reveals the hidden
On July 22, an official report issued by the General Authority for Maritime Affairs in the capital, Aden, confirmed the reality of the oil spill off the coast of Boraiqa. On the same day, a team from the authority carried out a field visit to verify what was published by the investigator and collaborators with through social media programs, as part of a media campaign launched under the hashtag #oil_leak_threatening_Aden.
According to the same report of General Authority for Maritime Affairs, the team has detected a leak from the ship PEARL OF ATHENA which related to the Overseas Company that owned by a merchant called Ahmed Al-Eisi, the team noted that they detected a pungent smell of petroleum, after that they noticed oil pollution was detected leaking from the tanker Athena, while the team supporting its report with pictures of pollution inside the sea, and so, the coastal area near the pollution incident is characterized by shrimp farming.
Who is the tanker Athens?
According to the specialized journalist Farouk Mqbel Kamali, the Pearl of Athenais is a chemicals carrier (oil) built in 1982, stopped in the area throwing at the anchor area of port of Aden in 23 August 2015, according to the statistics of the regional center for information exchange, which bear the mark (imo: 8000111), and raises Maltese flag.
Farouk added: This tanker received the latest classification in 2005, according to the Open Information Base، registered under the ownership of the Arab Gulf Shipping & Tradiing, it is one of Al-Eisi group companies, registered in Singapore, Ukraine, Greece and Egypt, where ships tracking data show that the ship was in 2011, registered as owned by the Cooperative Credit Bank, which occur in Sanaa.
Foreign experts: "The disaster is extended"
Wim Zwijnenburg, a specialist in the Open Source Press, and head of the humanitarian disarmament project of Dutch Peace Organisation (PAX). has declared through Twitter with satellite images, taken by European space photography stations, said "The port of Aden in southern Yemen is facing multiple oil pollution, from July 5 with an oil leak of a thickness of 14 kilometers, most likely from one ship."
And he added that the suspects are still watching until Thursday, July 21, 2022, and more suspects seen here from various ships, between July 5 and July 21, will put an additional environmental burden on local marine ecosystems in which is already affected, according to Zuennberg.
Big environmental and marine disasters
there is an environmental and maritime disaster waiting for by Aden at least the same as threat as the so-called oil tanker Safer. The damage of the oil leakage from Athens will not limit only the environment, but the whole sea vital diversity in the rich area of various fish like invertebrates of crustaceans and mollusks, and the effects may reach the health aspect, economic and water services, and so on.
"Pollution of oil is the most serious environmental problems in seas, it will produced an environmental, economic and social repercussions" as an environmental consultant Dr. Jamal Bawazeer said, who is Pa pofessor of environmental science at the University of Aden, he also pointing out that the occurrence of rickety ships within the port It is a violation of international agreements and laws and laws, because of major negative effects on the environment and maritime navigation, and this is dismissed for a reputation for the port of Aden.
Bawazir also said that the oil leakage and the survival of the vulnerable and sinking oil tankers will work to repeat the scene of pollution incidents in the port of Aden, which exacerbate damage to all forms of marine life from fish, invertebrates, reptiles, coral reefs, seagrass, and birds. and it will hurt human health through its direct communication with contaminated water or through contaminated fish, as well as damage to fishermen equipment in the region.
Marine life affected by the oil spill
An official source from the first grade in the leadership of the General Authority for the Protection of the Environment (prefer to not be identified) declared by special statements that the continued presence of many rickety ships, and the once which are very poor in the area of the anchor of the port of Aden till this day Is a source of concern to polluting the marine environment and disabled the navigation especially that they are parked since the 2015 war, and these vessels were not subject to maintenance during that period which resulting the corrosion of their own body and some of them had been subjected to be tilted and would be vulnerable to sink and produce pollution to the marine environment and then would be difficult to accomplish in the event of case.
He added: In the same month, exactly on 9 July from last year 2021, the Dia-1 ship has sunk in the anchor area of Aden Port and polluted various coasts around such as Al-Heswah, Al-Ghesah Al-Barbari and Khood Al-Namer in the Al-Boraiqa district, and in July this year also an oil leakage has occurred from the ship (Athens - Pearl of Athena) which causing pollution for many coasts, other than the else environmental damages.
A major at General Authority for Environmental Protection stressed that the damage caused by the oil spill is characterized by environmental habitats, ecosystems and marine biodiversity prevailing in areas where the oil spill occurred, especially as fish is a major source of food to all society, so when the oil leakage accumulates in the tissues of marine biology will cause a bad impact on human health, and so there are many marine beings directly affect by oil pollutants and leads to their death.
He pointed out also that a wide segment of society in coastal areas is the category of fishermen who depend on their lives on coastal fishing, these maritime pollutions lose many fishermen for their livelihoods, and investments from fishery exports of the country's fish will also become unacceptable and non-competitive, rather than the environmental habitats which will damage such as wetlands, which are considered a normal location of the rest and nutrition for many migratory birds to and from Europe, Asia and Africa during different seasons exactly in winter, therefore, such pollution may lead to the death of many migratory and endangered birds, as well as the slow motionless organisms such as molluscs and crustaceans coral reefs and other of biodiversity will also be affected.
General Authority of Maritime Affairs evaded a reply
A deputy executive director captain Abu Aomr delivers that the pollution from the tanker does not extend to 41 kilometers and is promoted, and so the carrier is causing no any oil derivatives in fuel tanks, except a simple quantity of oils in the engine room as a daily operating oils which mixed with a water, and this known is a remaining in any ship. (But unfortunately he has not clearly mentioned what the tanker carry inside).
The captain escapes the response clearly about the investigative questions: "Is oil spill still at the moment? Since when he started spreading on Aden's coasts? How expanded? Are the leaked materials petrol or diesel or gasoline? How much is the Athens ship load from fuel and what kind?!"
He just said " on Saturday, 23/7/2020, we sent a technical team for the homeland of Pearl of Athena in the package area, and they signed that there were many medium and small spaces of oil pollution 'mixed oil' in its colour (black, rainbow and silver)" and he neither mention how much the quantity that leaked nor extension.
He also pointed out that the General Authority for Maritime Affairs began to recover after its great damage during the Houthi invasion of Aden where many damage was suffered by then, and also affected the exports of oil and gas in some ports of the Yemeni oil ports, and currently began initial recovery through financial and administrative stability, so that will therefore have a significant impact on many of its tasks, including the control of marine pollution, where lately we obtains approval to begin the maintenance process for the board of combating marine pollution, and God willing, while the maintenance is done then the boats will be provided with equipment and tools on combating pollution according to the commission's possibilities.
The deputy director of the General Authority for Maritime Affairs revealed that the Authority by coordination and cooperation with the Yemeni Gulf Ports Foundation with the directives of the Minister of Transport and in coordination with the judiciary working on a mechanism to remove the old and consumed ships from the port of Aden, in order to these vessels not cause marine incidents like sinking or tilting of ships and other pollution incidents of the marine environment, and the work going in serious in this side, as he said.
The solution lies in the application of law
In terms of laws and legal regulations, which helps the Commission to carrying out its tasks and objectives in legal manner, the captain Abu Aomr confirms, that there are national and international naval laws and legislation that gives the Commission significant power to impose state sovereignty in its ports and its regional water, there are insufficiency in some laws and are in addition to additives and amendments, and we are currently receiving the command of the Commission. We are working in this aspect and we are interested in strengthening coordination and communication with the competent prosecution and courts, and rearrange the organization of the General Administration for Legal Affairs of the Commission which has many tasks, that are making great efforts.
He noted that the administrative and technical aspect of the Commission is an essential corner in its tasks and that they are also working on this aspect to attempting to return back the cadres of the Authority to carry out its specific tasks, including technical cadres, sea and environmental engineers and others, and work on this aspect It is accounting for accelerated, and in the case of a shortage of cadres, the Commission will be strengthened with new cadres that do and perform tasks.
He also explained that the importance of the marine environment is very large and the world today is heading for conservation and given it its interest, and the Authority represents the Yemeni government agent of the maritime environment in ports and Yemeni water, and pollution incidents that cause environmental damage must be fight and maintain the marine environment, "as i said before, we are currently advanced in the rehabilitation of the competent boats to combat marine pollution and the working groups are ready to work".
And increased: We will begin the procedures for the import of materials to combat marine pollution and this is from the core of our business، that is our attention and hope which we will soon be done, and of course part of this business will be from the revenue of the Authority, although our revenues are still insufficient to cover this, so, another part of t will cover by the Ministry of Transport and the Council of Ministers, who guides their attention on this subject and will have a prominent role in rehabilitation of the Authority at all from new, therefore, we are currently working on existing potential until the work of rehabilitation.
The captain escapes from talking about the effects and damage which caused by the oil spill in Aden coasts and many other queries such us the dangers of existence of the 12 tankers that threatened of sink? Why does the Authority allow this? What are the names and data of those ships? Is Al-Eisi really microcontrolled the authorities of the General Authority for Maritime Affairs? How many metric tons carried by each ship? Are the 12 vessels used as floating cabinets? What kind of such material? Who is managed them? What is the evaluation of the General Authority for Maritime Affairs for each ship of the 12 ships that parking in the Aden Port anchor which threatened to be sinking? Are those volatile 12 vessels oil repeat a disaster as Safer in Aden?
The General Authority for Maritime Affairs is a sadistic government achievement the marine sovereignty for Yemen by coordination with other government institutions and authorities for regarding maritime safety requirements on foreign ships and ships that raise the Yemeni flag, apply national and international marine legislation, the protection of the marine environment from pollution, and other tasks and important objectives.
How the environmental disaster can be avoided?
"To avoid the repeated problem of oil pollution from the vulnerable and sunken ships in the port of Aden is to empty its burden oil from and from sinking machines and exile them away from the submersible, with the need for coordination and integration with the other concerned authorities, and activation the role of coastal code, the importance of reporting incidents at its time" pointed the environmental consultant Jamal Bawazeer.
In his response to the question of "how the oil leakage can be encountered?" the responsible source in the General Authority for Environmental Protection, replied that the current status for encountering of such disasters requires forthcoming eliminating the dangers by putting a permanent solutions to prevent the pollution of the marine environment from volatile ships In the anchor of the International Aden Port, which is to expedite the discharge of oil materials stored within tanks and its machines, and disassembling them, and so prevent the volatile oil tankers and ships from entering the regional water limits of Yemeni seas.
The official of the General Authority for Environmental Protection has added that resolving the current pollution of the oil spill from the ship (Athens) it is up to the functions of the General Committee for Naval Affairs as the relevant jurisdiction of protection the marine environment, so it must make the most possible efforts and finding the urgent possible solutions for how to stop oil leakage, it has to work to put the processors to contain contamination which threatens Aden by many maritime environmental disasters.
The oil spill is a repeating collusion
Repeating of oil spill in Aden's coast refers to a orchestrated plan which targeting an Aden Navy Environment and its international port, this is what has confirmed by the investigation of Farouk and his assistant team from Europe and Yemeni in tracking the 12 exhausted uncriteria/without standards vessels that threatened of sinking in the coast of Aden above the spill existence from more than a ship, and the discovering of new oil spill at the time of the sinking of a second ship and flooded water for a third ship.
Not only this, but there are 3 oil tankers (among th 12 stumbling once) which all their data and details have been erased from the Ship Tracking Site. The fellow Farouk Mokbel has been confident their information in a news report published in September 2021, where the disaster continues till it turned the port of Aden to a dump for fuel and outgoing fuel carriers.
(Vessel without standards) according to national and international law and legislation exports, as a ship with a body or operational safety equipment, it is significantly without standards required by the relevant conventions or its crew does not match close to security regulation document, so, the without standards ships are classified in accordance of lack of equipment or key arrangements that required by the conventions, not also to meet the equipment or arrangements to relevant specifications provided for in these conventions, as well as remarkable deterioration in case of ship or it's equipment due to poor maintenance, for example, as well as the lack of eligibility for staff to operate the ship or disseminate the basic operational procedures, as well as lack of staff members or inadequate certificates that they had.
A ship without recovering its wreck
In July 2021, it mentioned that the oil tanker DIA-1 has drowned and caused a massive spill of diesel in and around the port of Aden, which resulting beaches drifts and threat to nature reserves, while the wreckage of the Dia1 still in the area of ship landing which has not yet recovered until now, also in the same area there are many exhausted unilateral ships, which set as an environmentally danger that threatened the safety of maritime navigation.
In the next investigation we will reveal the hidden status of the 12 vessels without the criteria that going to be sink in the coast of Aden, in which used as floating tankers, and the effects, damage and a serious threat that its existence constitute to the coasts. marine, environment, human and a whole of the city as well, therefore, we will also discuss in the third investigation the urgent solutions and treatments to contain the environmental pollution in a legal manner.
Bassam AL-Qhadhi: A scientific journalist, specializing in covering climate and environment issues
This investigation has produced by supported and supervised by the Humanitarian Journalism Foundation