The Tunisian Ministry of Commerce announced on Sunday the opening of an investigation into the oil tanker sunk off the coast of Gabes (southeast).
This is what emerged from the press release from the Tunisian Ministry of Commerce consulted by the Anadolu Agency.
“In order to preserve the rights of the Tunisian State, a maritime investigation has been opened as required by national maritime law and well-known international conventions to know the true circumstances of the accident, verify the nature of the activity of the aforementioned vessel, identify its movements during the last period and take all necessary legal measures based on the results of the investigation,” the statement said.
The ministry also explained that “the ship in question had docked in the port of Sfax from April 4 to 8, to change the crew, refuel and carry out some light repairs without commercial operations”.
“All necessary measures have been taken and all merchant marine and port agents have been deployed according to their area of qualification, and all logistical equipment has been provided to ensure the efficiency of operations, reinforced with additional equipment coupled with ports of Zarzis and Sfax to avoid oil spills”, according to the same source.
And on Saturday, the Ministry of the Environment declared that “the ship, which was flying the Equatoguinean flag, coming from the Egyptian port of Damietta and en route to Malta, suffered damage which prevented it from continuing its journey in due to bad weather and rough seas, which forced his crew to seek permission from the Tunisian authorities to enter territorial waters”.
The Tunisian authorities authorized the ship, loaded with fuel, to anchor about 7 km from the coast of the Gulf of Gabes (south), but seawater infiltrated the engine room, submerging it to the height of two meters, the statement said.
The same source said that the ship’s crew, made up of 7 people, asked the Tunisian authorities to evacuate them from the ship, which is threatening to sink. The intervention was then decided and the whole crew was rescued.
*Translated from Arabic by Hend Abdessamad
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