07 June 2004 12:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Four crew members of the chemical tanker Bow Mariner who were reluctant to testify before a US Coast Guard (USCG) inquiry into the loss of their vessel off Virginia last February have now given evidence after being promised immunity against prosecution, CNI learned on Monday.
A spokesman for the Bow Mariner's owner, Norway's Odfjell Seachem, said today that the crew gave statements to the USCG last week. The Coast Guard is carrying out an inquiry into the Bow Mariner's loss on behalf of the Singapore maritime authorities. The Bow Mariner, which exploded and sank with the loss of 21 lives, was registered in Singapore.
Tank washing operations were being carried out on board the 39 821 dwt Bow Mariner when it exploded. The vessel, which was managed by Ceres Hellenic Shipping Enterprises of Greece, was also carrying a part cargo of ethanol at the time.
An ethanol cargo and tank washing operations were also coincidental in the fatal explosion off Brazil last week of another Odfjell chemical tanker, the NCC Mekka. However, the tanks being washed on the Bow Mariner had previously contained methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and not oil products as on the NCC Mekka. In addition, both Bow Mariner and its tank cleaning system & equipment are of different design to the NCC Mekka, according to Odfjell.
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