The Italian owned 5,954 ton chemical tanker “Attilio Ievoli” ran aground off the Lymington River last Thursday. This vessel, built in October 1995, has a double bottom but single sides and was employed by Esso Fawley. Fortunately, she was refloated on a rising tide 4 hours later without any oil spill and, after a under water hull inspection, continued two days later on her voyage to Barcelona.
It could be considered that this time Esso and the owners were lucky. This same ship suffered significant bow damage in a collision with a barge in the River Scheldt on 28th June 2001.
Did Esso have sufficient information before employing this ship? Without her double bottom, her risk potential for an oil spill obviously would have been much greater, which only reinforces the Solent Protection Society’s campaign to persuade Esso to carry all their oils within the Solent in tankers with both double sides and bottoms in order to avoid the risk of oil pollution to the Solent and its environment.
Currently Esso refuse to meet with the Solent Protection Society, despite claiming recently to the Southampton Echo newspaper to have a good working relationship with the Society.