The Russian vessel MV Petrozavodsk grounded outside of Bjørnøya on 11 May 2009 at around 05:00.
The crew of 12 was evacuated by helicopter at around 08:30. The vessel was not carrying any cargo. The vessel was loaded with about 50-60 cubic metric of marine diesel, which was loaded in two tanks located amidships and 690 litres of lubricants.
Bjørnøya is a nature reserve and vessels are banned from sailing within one nautical mile of land from where the grounding took place. The ban is related to the consideration for the seabirds during their nesting period. The grounding occurred in the middle of one of Norway's and the North Atlantic's most important nesting areas. The Guillemot population in this important nesting area is particularly vulnerable and the grounding occurred at the start of the nesting period.
Immediately after the incident, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) surveyed the wreck and surrounding environment. The NCA decided to take over the leading of the response due to the major risk of acute pollution The wreck was lying under a cliff with frequent rock falls and it was therefore difficult to reach the wreck. The weather immediately after the shipwreck was moving in from the east and the waves were about three metres high and striking the vessel straight on. Because of the weather conditions and location of the wreck it was deemed inadvisable to put people on board it. The weather also made it impossible to work on the vessel.
There was slight or no leakage when the vessel grounded. When the weather situation improved there was no oil in the sea, although minor traces of pollution could be observed on shore. An attempt was made to board the wreck, but due to the rockslide it was too dangerous to continue the operation. A few weeks later, researchers observed oil products leaking from the wreck. After a while, the shipowner started discharge the vessel of oil and antifreeze solution. It was also removed a number of environmentally hazardous components. 30 cubic metres of oil products were pumped out of Petrozavodsk. Later on, theNCA carried out an operation on the wreck and surveyed all the potential sources of pollution remaining on the vessel and investigated whether there had been any impact on marine life near the location. A number of objects and products were removed from the vessel on this trip as well. No negative impact on bird life was recorded. The bird population in the area was monitored by researchers who were on site during the entire nesting period.
The NCA issued an order to manage the pollution risk and the actual wreck at the same day as the accident. In May 2011, part of the 2009 order concerning removing the wreck was reversed. The NCA initially assumed that completely removing the wreck would be the most appropriate measure, but the new assessment was based on, among other things, clarifications concerning the technical possibility of removing the wreck and health and safety considerations. Based on this the NCA reversed the instructions to remove the vessel and the shipowner was instead ordered to remove environmentally hazardous components and objects from the wreck.
The NCA presented a claim to recover the costs the government incurred due to managing the incident. A main hearing was held in Oslo City Court in November 2012 because the claim was disputed. The judgement was appealed by the shipowner and the appeal hearing is scheduled for September 2015.
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