Crew tried to avoid collision: owners

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 December, 2007, 12:00am

The owners of the Hong Kong-registered Hebei Spirit supertanker said yesterday that the crew of the vessel did everything they could to prevent the collision that punched a hole in the ship and released more than 10 million litres of crude oil off the South Korean coast.

In their first account of the accident, the Hebei Spirit Shipping Company said the Hebei Spirit's crew released itself from its anchors in an effort to avoid the Samsung No1 barge as the smaller ship was being towed by two tugboats early on Friday morning.

The company's account appears to match earlier descriptions of the collision, which punched three holes in the Hebei Spirit's tanks.

'Following the accident, both the Hebei Spirit Shipping Company Limited and the ship's crew took all possible measures to minimise the oil spill, including promptly notifying Korean authorities [and] transferred as much as practicable from the damaged tanks,' it said.