Modelling potential oil spill of the stranded oil tanker in Venezuela

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The FSO Nabarima, a huge oil tanker containing approximately 1.3 million barrels of crude oil, is at risk of causing an oil spill in a remote stretch of Venezuela’s coast in the Gulf of Paria. The FSO is found abandoned in the Gulf of Paria since January 2019 following United States sanctions on the Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). The cargo offload has been planned and about 550,000 tons of crude will be brought to land. Transferring the oil currently stored in the FSO Nabarima to another vessel involves risks potentially resulting in oil spills. Depending on the trajectory of the potential oil spill, the ecosystems of the region, which includes mangrove forests, coastal lagoons, estuaries, beaches/sandy shores, rocky shores, open ocean ecosystems and their associated biodiversity, would be at risk.

The CMCC Foundation, cmcc srl and Mercator Ocean International (MOI) delivered a bulletin modelling oil spill evolution between October 28th, 2020, and November 2, 2020. The oil spill trajectory and fate of a potential spill originated at the FSO Nabarima was simulated using the MEDSLIK-II oil spill model coupled with Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS) oceanographic and ECMWF (provided by Aeronautica Militare Italiana) meteorological products. The spill evolution was simulated with MEDSLIK-II for the period between 28/10/2020 12:00 and the 02/11/2020 12:00.

DISCLAIMER – The information and views set out in this Bulletin are those of the authors CMCC Foundation, cmcc srl and Mercator Ocean International (MOI) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the governments of the area. CMCC Foundation, cmcc srl and MOI do not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this study. Uncertainties in the present report are expected as meteo-oceanographic models might not be capable to fully resolve the coastal dynamics and riverine inputs. Neither the CMCC Foundation, cmcc srl, MOI nor any person acting on the author’s behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Bulletin on the FSO Nabarima threat

Date of release: 28/10/2020 – DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN (pdf)

Look at the animation simulating the potential oil spill trajectory:

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