24 October 2013 13:58 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--The owner of an ammonia vessel that leaked a small amount of the explosive nitrogen fertilizer during loading in Yuzhny earlier this month confirmed on Thursday that the vessel will not have to undergo an inspection before it can return to the Ukrainian port.
South Korea-based shipping company KSS Line Limited confirmed no-one was injured or damage caused in the incident in the Black Sea port and disputed suggestions that around 200 litres of ammonia had leaked from LPG tanker Gas Columbia, saying it was a far smaller amount.
The vessel was detained by port and safety officials for around 24 hours following the 12 October leak, which is believed to have involved a valve. The vessel was then allowed to leave for Jordan, where it discharged 23,400 tonnes of ammonia on behalf of Qatar's Muntajat this week.
The Gas Columbia is time-chartered to leading Japanese trader Mitsui but the company arranged a swap with Muntajat after the latter's usual supplier, Qatar Fertilizer Company (Qafco), suffered a series of short-term production problems at its ammonia plants earlier this month.
KSS Line Gas Fleet manager, JH Jeong, said on Thursday that no damage had occurred to the vessel, which was built in 1997, or the terminal, during the incident and added the volume of ammonia involved was a very small amount and far less than the 200 litres initially suggested by market sources.
He denied the tanker, which has a Korean crew, would go for an inspection in Turkey, saying the vessel is in good condition and operating as normal.
Both Yuzhny Port Authority and the regional government are understood to have opened investigations into the incident but neither could be reached for comment this week.
According to the KSS Line website, the Seoul-based company operates more than a dozen gas and chemical tankers. They include the Gas Quantum which is also time-chartered to Mitsui for ammonia shipments.
More than 300,000 tonnes of ammonia is usually loaded from Yuzhny each month by companies including Yara International, Nitrochem and NF Trading. The cargoes are delivered to several regions, including countries in northwest Europe, north Africa, the US, Asia and Asia Pacific.
Kate Wilcock contributed to this article
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