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Rocknes

The cargo vessel MS Rocknes grounded on 19 January 2004 near Revskolten light.

The vessel immediately began to list to starboard and capsized completely in under a minute. The vessel was carrying around 23,000 ton of stone. It was also carrying 470 cubic metric of heavy oil and 70 cubic metric of diesel. Of the crew of 28, 18 died, including the vessel's captain. The traffic service alerted the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) The inter-council committees for acute pollution (IUA) in Bergen was notified and joined the NCA team in the beach and shore operation. The NCA had main focus on the sea going operation.

The NCA supervised the handling of the vessel as the shipowner assessed the measures for securing the wreck. 18 people went missing after the accident and it was assumed that some of them were inside the vessel. The police were responsible for securing the wreck and the immediate surrounding area due to the rescue operation. The response work due to the risk of oil pollution and the pollution could not start before the rescue operation was completed. At the same time, it was ascertained that it would be impossible to conduct a search for the missing given how the wreck was lying: 180 degrees upside down, very unstable, and being kept in place against the shore by other vessels. The plan, therefore, was to move the vessel to port where a search could be conducted for the missing. Measures to reduce the risk of pollution was implemented by the shipowner. This work was conducted in collaboration with the insurance company and salvage specialists. 

Measures to recovering the oil from the sea was implemented as soon as the area was cleared after the rescue operation on the evening of 19 January. A large number of companies and individuals offered their services and resources with the aim of preventing oil pollution and some also deployed private equipment in the operation without the clearance of the operation leaders.

When the wreck was ready to be moved, there was little free-floating oil left in the sea. The shipowner was instructed to establish extensive contingency plans for the move to prevent new leaks of oil that might be released during the tow causing greater pollution. On 28 January, the vessel was moved to Coast Centre Base in Ågotnes. Following an agreement with the shipowner, the NCA assumed responsibility for the contingency measures. Despite the extensive contingency measures, some oil was released and there was a need for further recovery in the sea. Upon its arrival the vessel was cordoned off by oil booms and after the wreck was righted and no longer represented any risk of pollution.

45 km of shoreline were cleaned up. It is estimated that between 2.000 and 3.000 seabirds died as a direct consequence of the pollution. The food sources of seabirds and fish were also contaminated. The shoreline operation lasted for almost five months and a total of 621 ton of oil contaminated materials were recovered. 85 ton of these were pure oil fractions. The case was ended in line with the distribution of the limitation fund in accordance with the rules of the Norwegian Maritime Code. 


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