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Accident date
Accident area
port of Brest, Finistère
Spill area
Cause of spill
Structural damage
Nature of pollutant
fuel oil
Quantity spilled
1 m³
Ship / structure type
Oil tanker
260.00 m

The incident

On the night of 4 to 5 March 2002, the 260 m long oil tanker the Norrisia accidentally spilled around 1 m³ of fuel oil during drydocking. When the ship has been placed on keelblocks, the final discharge is carried out with the door open for safety reasons. A fire boom was used, the only type of protection generally used for small discharges in this type of situation, but did not manage to contain the pollution in the dry dock. The majority of the spillage seeped into the sea, pushed along by a light northeasterly wind.


Cedre was called upon for advice four times during the night, first by the operating company, then by the Préfecture Maritime and the fire brigade. At dawn the Navy carried out an overflight by helicopter, and the port of Brest and the Regional Equipment Management organised suveillance operations by zodiac.

Two tugs carried out an oil trawl. Cedre took part in the emergency plan at the Préfecture Maritime, before carrying out a second flight on an Alouette to direct nautical reponse operations. The fragmentation and the dissipation of the pollutant made recovery by trawling impossible and the Navy stopped these operations in the late afternoon. Some deposits of pollutant were found on the southern shore of the Elorn and on Plougastel peninsula, however shellfish farming remained unaffected.

Cedre's role

Other than providing assistance for the on-call engineer and attending the emergency plan meeting, Cedre took part in an overflight of the Rade de Brest and the inlet, organised by the French Navy. Meanwhile, two technicians from Cedre were onboard the tug prepared for an oil trawl.

Lessons to be learnt

As a result of this accident, the Harbour Master's office organised a meeting, in which Cedre participated, with a view to providing a containment system for the port of commerce for rapid use. Cedre encouraged the port of commerce to collaborate with the military port which already had a stock of booms and a skimming barge.

Last update: 02/09/2003