The cargo vessel MV Server grounded near Hellesøy lighthouse in the municipality of Fedje on 12 January 2007.
The vessel was 179.5 meters long and with a gross tonnage of 19,864. After it ran aground, a hole in the hull near the engine room and that the vessel was taking on water, was reported. A rescue operation was initiated by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and the crew of 25 was evacuated. After the evacuation, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) decided to take over the leading of the response due to the major risk of acute pollution. The weather conditions made it difficult to initiate measures aimed at preventing or limiting an acute oil spill from the vessel. After consulting the salvage company hired by the shipowner, it was decided that towing the vessel off the rocks was inadvisable.
Its condition worsened during the evening and at around 22:55 the vessel broke in two. The vessel broke in two by tank no. 5 and bunker oil was spilled into the sea. The aft section sank immediately and is still lying at the wreck site. Subsequent surveys have shown that the stern no longer contains significant quantities of oil. Because of the risk the forepart would sink with the consequent dispersal of oil, it had to be towed to calm waters. On 13 January 2007, the forepart of the vessel was beached in six-meters deep shallows, right next to Coast Center Base in Ågotnes in the municipality of Fjell. The vessel leaked bunker oil during the tow, but the quantity could not be estimated.
The shipowner arranged for the forepart to be emptied of the remaining bunker oil. The NCA instructed the shipowner to remove the aft section. Oil contamination was registered in eight municipalities. Poor weather in the first few days contributed to the wide dispersal of oil and recovering the oil was very difficult. The oil on the surface was primarily recovered by Norwegian Coast Guard vessels and the NCA own vessels. The vessel was carrying a total of 676 ton of oil products on board. Based on oil samples, it was calculated that 380 ton of oil were either left in the environment or had naturally decomposed/evaporated.
The wreck resulted in a large area of the coast being polluted by oil with about 40 km of shoreline being polluted because of the incident. The initial phase of the beach cleansing operation focused on reconnaissance and managing the oil with booms in order to protect vulnerable areas or confining the oil so that it could not drift into new areas. After this, the beach areas underwent a general cleansing process, which in this phase largely involved cleaning up with the aid of manual methods.
More than 200 people, 30 vessels and equipment were involved in this phase of the cleansing work. The shoreline then underwent a more meticulous cleansing process and a watch team was established in the NCA and deployed if the public reported observing pollution.
Around 40 km of shoreline was also polluted because of the incident.
The pollution was a serious incident for the bird life in the affected regions with overwintering seabirds being the worst affected. A total of 1,554 oil-contaminated birds of 22 different species got injured. There were also reported dead otters. Four fish farming and aquaculture facilities were affected somewhat, but did not require special measures.
The NCA presented a claim to recover the costs the government incurred due to managing the incident. The presented claim is about NOK 200 million. The shipowner established a limitation fund in line with the Norwegian Maritime Code to limit its maximum financial liability. The fund process has been completed. The government and shipowner failed to reach agreement on all aspects of the fund administrator's conclusion and legal proceedings were initiated in Oslo City Court. The main hearing was held in November 2014. The judgement was appealed and the appeal hearing is scheduled for January 2016.
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