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Happy Bride

Name
Happy Bride
Accident date
04/01/2006
Location
France
Accident area
Donges, Loire estuary
Spill area
Inland waters
Cause of spill
Collision
Nature of pollutant
bunker fuel oil
Quantity spilled
60 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Gas tanker (LPG tanker)
Flag
Isle of Man

On Wednesday 4 January at 8:30 pm, the LPG tanker the Sigmagas, flying the Antigua and Barbuda flag, suffered damage to her helm in the Loire river and collided with the LPG tanker the Happy Bride, flying the flag of the Isle of Man. The collision occurred at the oil terminal in Donges, on the boundary of the independent port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire.

The bulb of the Sigmagas pierced the Happy Bride's hull, hitting a tank containing 60 m³ of heavy bunker fuel oil. The two ships were brought alongside the quay. The port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire set up a double floating boom around the Happy Bride, before pumping out the fuel, with help from experts from Total.

The Happy Bride alongside the quay surrounded by a boom
The Happy Bride alongside the quay surrounded by a boom

The Brest Préfecture Maritime immediately sent the BSAD Alcyon with a response team and antipollution equipment. A CEPPOL officer was sent on site. Four experts from Cedre were sent to the area to help with inspection and to provide advice on response operations.

Analysis of a sample of the fuel in Cedre's laboratory confirmed that the fuel was heavy (density of 0.993) and viscous (viscosity of 27,200 cSt at 10 °C).

Aerial, river and land observation missions carried out by the Gendarmerie, the fire brigade, ITOPF and Cedre helped locate the affected areas when the slick began to drift in the estuary, and to identify the priority clean-up sites.Two stranding booms were set up by FOST (Fast Oil Spill Team) at the arm of the River Taillée (north bank) and the River Percée du Carnet (south bank). A floating boom was used by SMN (Maritime and Navigation Service) on the Pouliguen creek.

Boom
Boom

Clean-up operations began at the end of the week, on the rocks bordering the Donges refinery and in the week beginning 9 January on the reeded areas and the rough grasslands in the south bank (between the lights at Ramée and Gabon). A mobile team began was responsible for course clean-up then fine clean-up of the oiled beaches and slipways. The rocks on the north bank of the estuary were cleaned manually (collection of beached debris). On 16 January, high pressure flushing began.

Manual clean-up amongst reeds
Manual clean-up amongst reeds
Last update: 15/06/2011