Crude Oil Tanker Collides With Jetty at Port in South Korea

A tanker hauling North Sea crude oil to South Korea collided with a jetty, causing damage to a pipeline and a leak into the sea, according to Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the company that booked the carrier.

The Wu Yi San hit the pier at the port of Yosu at 9:35 a.m. local time, Shell said in an e-mailed statement. The ship’s own cargo tanks are intact and the vessel’s crew suffered no injuries, it said. The carrier is operated by Ocean Tanker Pte, according to Shell. Calls to the company’s offices in Singapore weren’t answered outside normal office hours.

South Korea had the worst spill in its history in 2007 when the Hebei Spirit leaked 10,500 metric tons (78,750 barrels) after being hit by a crane. That incident helped boost tanker rates as it disrupted trade at a time when vessel supply was already constrained, according to Per Mansson, a shipbroker at RS Platou London LLP. This time there’s a bigger ship surplus, he said. Hebei Spirit had a single hull and the accident accelerated South Korea’s refusal to accept such vessels.

“It’s still early to be sure, but I don’t think this will affect rates,” Mansson said by e-mail today. “If it’s a big repair job, then some vessels may be diverted, but I doubt will have a big impact.”

The vessel has been moved to an anchorage outside the port, Shell said. It was delivering a cargo to the Yosu GS Caltex terminal. The incident resulted in a “product spill into the water” from the pipeline, according to the oil company.

Wu Yi San was transporting Forties crude oil that it loaded at Hound Point in Scotland, the statement shows. The grade is one of four that make up the price of Dated Brent, a global benchmark.

The nature of the pipeline damage and spill are still being investigated and the Korean coastguard is responding to the incident, Shell said.

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