868 - 02/13 - Oil Pollution at Berth - Pointe Noire, Congo

We have been advised by the Club’s correspondents of the following continuing issues with oil pollution at several berths at Pointe Noire, Congo

“The situation regarding oil pollution within the port of Pointe Noire has been well known for several months now (since September 2012) and the Port Authority is perfectly aware, but has yet to take measures to stem the leak.

Consequently this represents an obstacle to vessels calling at this port. We would recommend that all vessels intending to call at Pointe Noire, Congo should be advised of the prevailing situation and should charterers direct owners to this port, any clean-up consequences should be sought from the former.

The water and fenders in the port are polluted with oil due to a pipeline in the port having been struck during dredging operations as work was carried out on quays G1, G2, G3 and G4.

We regret to advise that there have been no signs of any improvement in Pointe Noire with regards to this oil contamination. As there has been no concrete action taken to clear the slick in the port, the quays G1, G2, G3, G4, D1, D2, D3, D4, P5, P6, P7 and P8 are contaminated. Vessels calling at the port continue to have their hulls contaminated to a lesser or greater extent depending on local conditions at the time.

With regard to any action to be taken, we would advise as follows:

1. The Master should issue a letter of protest and transmit it to his agent to have it signed by the Port Authorities (if the Harbor Master refuses to sign the LOP regarding this problem, the agent should do so).

2. Should it be necessary to prove that the oil pollution is not emanating from the vessel, oil samples should be collected from the water around the vessel. However, sometimes the port security refuses to allow this to be carried out as the Port Authorities do not want to draw further attention to the problem. We are not aware of any instances where the Port Authority has tried to shift the blame for the oil pollution onto the vessel.

3. If hull cleaning is required, it has to be carried out at anchor either by crew or a local company hired for the purpose. Whether or not hull cleaning is necessary is at the discretion of the Master/Owner bearing in mind the extent of the contamination and the vessel’s itinerary etc. (Some vessels choose not to clean the hull, but rely on the natural cleaning of the sea water on the subsequent voyage depending on the extent of the contamination, anticipated length of voyage, next port, draft etc.) There are approximately four local cleaning companies who can be engaged via the agent to clean the vessel’s hull.

4. It may be prudent to consider ensuring that the vessel has appropriately approved oil cleaning chemicals/solvents on board prior to the arrival at Pointe Noire as this may assist in keeping down and cleaning costs, especially if the cleaning can be carried out by the crew.”

Source of Information:

  Eltvedt & O’Sullivan
     Email: tcipointenoire@yahoo.fr

Industry developments

Polar Shipping

Legal, navigational and environmental resources, news and updates on the development of polar shipping. Read more

US VRP Compliance

With effect from 30th January 2014 non-tank as well as tankships calling at US ports will be required to submit VRPs.  For Club and other resources to assist in compliance click here

International Environmental compliance

Environmental Compliance resource page collates material in respect of International environmental compliance issues affecting our Members. Information from the Club, Loss Prevention and external resources has been collated in one place for ease of reference.

MLC 2006

The Maritime Labour Convention enters into force in August 2013 - resources, news & advice on implementation can be found in this dedicated section.  READ MORE

International sanctions

Recent guidance & corresponding material in respect of international sanctions against various countries has been updated with respect to temporary easing of sanctions against Iran.  READ MORE


Essential precautions and preparation against piracy, as well as additional information and resources, loss prevention advisories and useful external web links

Emergency Contacts

If you need to call our offices out of hours and at weekends, click After Office hours for a up to date list of the names of the Duty Executives and their mobile phone numbers. 

Ship Finder

This Ship Finder is updated on a daily basis. Members who need to advise the Club of updates to their recorded ships' details should advise their usual underwriting contact.