YANBU, 3 April 2008 — The tanker that lost power and drifted
dangerously among a maze of coral shelves in the Red Sea off the
coast of Yanbu early last month is still being emptied of its cargo:
tens of thousands of liquid tons of oil that was bound for Jordan.
Port officials said yesterday that 31,000 liquid tons of the
crude oil in the Polar, the damaged Dominican-registered ship,
would be pumped to Saudi Aramco storage tanks at the King Fahd
Industrial Port in Yanbu.
The operation is expected to take three to four days.
“Weather conditions, including wind speed would also be factors
in unloading the ship,” said Capt. Abdullah Al-Zahrani, director
of the Maritime Administration in Yanbu.
The rest of the oil will be loaded on another ship, the Hellas
Warrior, which was sent by Venture Navigation Co., Ltd., the
Greek shipping company that owns the damaged vessel, to deliver
to the port of Aqaba, about 700 km north of Yanbu, in Jordan.
The Hellas Warrior, a smaller vessel, will then return to Yanbu
and take the rest of the oil.
The Polar lost power about 200 km out of Yanbu after departing on March 2.
The 20-year-old vessel was towed back to port a few days later.
The delay in unloading the Polar was due to the need to inspect
the vessel to determine the feasibility and risk of spillage in
the transfer operations, a routine procedure when vessels report
damages or failures. Additional factors facilitated a thorough
examination because of the proximity of the port to the water
intakes for the water desalination and power plant