NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) – The Office of the Attorney General has been consulted for legal guidance after a gas tanker which was “rear-ended” by a 207-foot super yacht sank off the coast of New Providence last Friday, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Transport and Housing.
“The Port Department has begun a formal investigation into the incident, and the Department of Environmental Health is also conducting a review of the environmental impact. These activities are currently underway,” the ministry said.
The US$51-million super yacht, Utopia IV, had been designed and built by Italy’s Rossinavi in 2018. The Italian designer reports that the vessel is fitted with four light Rolls Royce engines as well as four hydro jets that provide it with a top speed of 33 knots and an average cruising speed of 26 knots. It is unclear what the speed of the yacht was at the time of the collision.
A statement issued by Maritime Management LLC, which managed the ship M/T Tropic Breeze, the vessel was struck at 10.03 pm on Christmas Eve by the M/Y Utopia IV approximately 15 miles NNW of New Providence.
Maritime Management said the 160-foot tanker was travelling on its proper watch en route to Great Stirrup Cay when it was rear-ended by the 207-foot super yacht.
“The catastrophic force of the collision pierced the stern of the tanker causing the tanker to sink to the ocean floor at an estimated depth of 2,000 feet,” the company said.
Media reports in Guyana said two Guyanese nationals, identified as Chief Engineer Colin Ward and Joshua Campbell, were evacuated from the fuel tanker and that all crew members were also rescued.
According to Maritime Management, the tanker’s cargo included all “non-persistent materials” – LPG, marine gas, and automotive gas – “all of which are lighter than water and will evaporate if exposed to surface air”.
The statement added that the vessel, which is registered in Belize, was recently inspected in December of this year “and was found by the authorities to be fully compliant with all national and international safety and vessel integrity standards”.
“Due to the depth of the ocean at the location of the sinking, it has been determined that the tanker cannot be safely salvaged,” the company said.
The Ministry of Transport and Housing said that an update will be provided upon completion of the local investigation.