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Accident date
Accident area
entrance to Loch Broom, Ullapool, northwest coast of Scotland
Spill area
Cause of spill
Quantity transported
3, 300 tonnes
Nature of pollutant
zinc sulphide
Quantity spilled
1, 000 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Bulk carrier
Built date
88.15 m
Accent Shipping Co Ltd

On 29 June 2003, the Cypriot bulk carrier the Jambo was sailing from Dublin to Odda (Norway) with a cargo of 3,300 tonnes of zinc sulphide when she ran aground on the north coast of Scotland at the entrance to Loch Broom. The Stornoway coastguards received a message soon after the incident. The Lochinver lifeboat was rapidly sent on site and took the crew onboard. Experts assessed the risks associated with the wreck, her cargo and her diesel. Surveillance flights were made to monitor the pollution situation. On 1st July, sorbent booms and skimmers arrived on site. On 2nd July, pumping equipment arrived from the Netherlands.

Divers assessed the extent of the damage to the hull. They noticed that zinc concentrate was leaking from the wreck and that the bulbous bow was seriously damaged. Samples of fish were taken for analysis. The main concern was the early recovery of the marine diesel and of the cargo. Moreover there were five fish farms in the immediate vicinity. On 3rd July a sheen was visible around the Jambo. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) took measures to contain and recover the oil and deployed 600m of booms to protect the fish farms. A temporary exclusion zone was set up on 4th July around the wreck as she constituted a hazard for passing vessels.

By 7 July, about 70 tonnes of diesel had already been pumped from the vessel. There was no longer any serious environmental risk. The pumping of the zinc cargo was about to begin. It was estimated that the clean-up operation would last until the end of July. The exclusion zone was eventually lifted on 8 July. The possibility of a removal of the Jambo was still under discussion.

By 15 July the recovery of the 84 tonnes of marine diesel was completed. When the pumping of the zinc sulphide began on 24 July, the exclusion zone was reinstated. However the pumping operation appeared to be more difficult than first imagined. The cargo was very heavy and kept being sucked back down. Moreover 1,000 tonnes had already been lost. The response teams eventually managed to pump out 1,900 tonnes of the cargo, which was sent to Immigham (England). The vessel was then lying 14 metres below water level. She was no longer a hazard for passing vessels and the remaining 400 tonnes of zinc sulphide were considered a “negligible environmental threat”. It was then decided to leave the wreck in place. However samples of fish and shellfish were taken for analysis and the environmental impact continued to be assessed.

This incident increased the authorities' awareness of the need for more control on vessels transporting potentially dangerous cargos.

Last update on 02/05/2004

External links

CIIMAR database:  fate and weathering of Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) involved

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