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Accident date
Accident area
Christmas Island
Spill area
Cause of spill
Structural damage
Product transported
102 tonnes of intermediate fuel oil, 11,000 litres of lubricant oil, 32 tonnes of diesel oil, 260 tonnes of phosphate
Ship / structure type
Cargo vessel
Built date
84 m
15 m

The incident

On the 8th January 2012, the MV Tycoon broke its moorings while in dock in the Port of Christmas Island. In spite of the severe weather all the crew members were safely evacuated in life rafts. The vessel foundered on the cliffs of Flying Fish Cove. Its 260-tonne cargo of phosphate was released along with its fuel. The vessel broke in two on the 10th January and then finally in three in February.

Response on land

AMSA (the Australian Maritime Safety Authority) immediately activated the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and other Noxious Hazardous Substances. From the 9th January 2013 AMSA sent experts in marine pollution to the site to assist the Christmas Island Emergency Management Committee.
The clean-up operations on the shoreline began on the 10th January with a team of 80 volunteers and 11 environmental staff from Parks Australia. 
The harsh weather conditions in the area prevented the smooth running of operations. However, the natural dispersion of the pollutant was facilitated by the significant wave action generated by the heavy swell and violent winds.
Operations were scaled back 8 days later. The National Plan remained activated until the 17th February to tackle any residual pollutant washed up on shore by the current and swell.




After the vessel had spent over three months at the base of a cliff on Christmas Island, AMSA, given the lack of action by the ship's owner Tycoon Navigation SA in Singapore, commenced work to remove the wreck. The contractor chosen was Titan Maritime Pty Ltd, Australia. The operations took place over a period of 8 weeks (16,000 tonnes of scrap metal had been scattered in the harsh weather), finishing in July 2012. The cost of the removal operations for the wreck amounted to $8.2 million AUD. The Australian government took the necessary measures to recover the costs from the vessel's owner.



Environmental impact

The oil slick did not have a significant impact on the ecosystem. However, the incident did take place in the middle of the annual breeding season of the red crab when the young crabs emerge from the sea to begin their journey to the centre of the island.

Last update on 01/04/2014

See also

Napoli Date : 18/01/2007 Location : Western Channel

Rena Date : 05/10/2011 Location : New Zealand

Sea and Shore Technical Newsletter Year 2012, n°35

External links

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Incident report

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Investigation report

Marine traffic, Information on the vessel

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