Foreign ship banned from leaving Vietnam port after oil spill

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Workers clean up the oil spill at Quang Ngai port Friday

Maritime authorities in the central province of Quang Ngai have banned a Panamanian-flagged ship from leaving after it spilled nearly 1,000 liters of oil at a local port Friday.

Le Van Luong, deputy director of the Quang Ngai Port Authority, told Thanh Nien that Race Express belonging to Chinese-owned Nova Shipping & Logistics Pte Ltd can only leave Dung Quat Port after its owners cleaned up the spill.

The 43,000 DWT ship had anchored at the port to load wood chips for transport to China, he said.

Provincial agencies have started estimating the spill's impact on the environment and carry out further cleaning after a local response team mopped up the oil.

Estimates were that the spill measured 300-350 square meters.

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According to Luong, the incident happened around 2.30 p.m. when the crew of Racer Express were pumping furnace oil to ballast the vessel as it prepared to leave port.

A screw in the pumping-system valve came loose, causing the oil to spill, he explained.

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