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Odfjell working with partners on clean-up operations in Rotterdam

Clean-up operation progresses well in Rotterdam.

The clean-up operations are continuing 24/7 after the incident with Bow Jubail on Saturday 23rd June. The incident affected the local community in terms of wildlife, people and business and our key focus has been – and continues to be – limiting the impact of the oil spill. 

Onsite updates confirm good progress in a number of areas – including oil removal, rescuing wildlife, minimizing interruption to the affected terminals, and cleaning seagoing vessels.

Odfjell’s Executive Management has visited the Port of Rotterdam to assess the extensive clean-up operations and discuss the situation with the Mayor of Rotterdam, Port Authority, Harbour Master, the Captain and crew onboard Bow Jubail, and other involved parties. 

The visit also included status meetings with Odfjell’s insurance partner Gard, oil clean-up specialists HEBO, and The International Tanker Owners’ Pollution Federation (ITOPF), among others. Reports are positive for the handling of the situation.

The public investigation of the incident is still ongoing and Odfjell is fully participating in and supporting this investigation. Our focus is on establishing the root causes and identifying actions to avoid it happening again. 

Bow Jubail has been repaired at a local yard. A class surveyor attended the vessel for survey and repairs have been conducted accordingly. The vessel sailed from Rotterdam Saturday July 7th.  

Odfjell will continue to cooperate closely with the Dutch authorities, local experts and our partners to mitigate the consequences of this most unfortunate incident.


Friday 29th June update

The work to mitigate the consequences of the Bow Jubail incident is ongoing 24/7. Work on the clean-up operations is making good progress on a number of fronts.

Oil removal:

Daily inspections are made throughout the affected area, together with representatives from the harbor masters and other stakeholders. The inspections form the basis for further cleaning and priorities to secure that the overall process is as efficient as possible. 

Odfjell’s insurance partner Gard has entered into a contract with HEBO, specialists in controlling oil and chemical spills. HEBO has been involved since the incident occurred, and is now supplied with extra resources to speed up the process further. 

Rescuing affected wildlife:

The reports from Sea Alarm are optimistic about the outcomes from the actions that have been taken, with swans responding well to washing and rehabilitation and showing great resilience. We are truly grateful for the unique skills and tremendous efforts from everyone involved in this comprehensive operation. 

The handling of oiled wildlife follows the regional authorities’ protocol for how to deal with such crises. The protocol states that the process is to be administered and managed by the Dutch Rijkswatersaat (RWS). RWS is cooperating with Sea Alarm, international experts, animal rescue and bird protection organizations. RWS is recording the associated costs and will submit a claim from the liable party when a conclusion is reached. 

Minimizing interruption to the affected terminals:

In cooperation with Gard, HEBO, the Port of Rotterdam and other experts, we are doing our utmost to avoid further interruption to the affected terminals. Until the waterways are fully cleared for traffic, intermediate solutions will be sought to mitigate the consequences for the industries in the area. 

Cleaning seagoing vessels:

The cleaning facility for seagoing vessels has been moved to ensure more efficient shifting of vessels for cleaning and less time lost in bringing vessels in and out. The vessel cleaning continues 24/7.

It is still too early to speculate on the cause of the incident. There is a thorough ongoing investigation. As part of Odfjell’s cooperation with the external authorities to establish the relevant facts, our Incident Investigation Team is currently conducting a thorough inspection which in due time will determine the root cause. This team also includes independent external expertise.

The vessel was moved to the yard in the Port of Rotterdam on Tuesday 26th June. Work is estimated to take about one week. A class surveyor has attended the vessel for survey, and repairs will be conducted accordingly. 

Odfjell’s Emergency Response Team is still in operation at the headquarters to secure that all relevant issues are addressed. This includes continued cooperation with the local authorities, and support to our customers and our crew.



Wednesday 27th June update: 

Odfjell is very sorry for this incident and the serious consequences it has had on the local community, port operations and marine wildlife, and is fully committed to supporting the clean-up operations. We are very grateful to the fast and professional operations conducted by the Dutch authorities, Port of Rotterdam, RWS and other valuable contributors.

“We sincerely regret this incident. Our key focus continues to be on limiting the impact on the environment. We work closely with Dutch authorities and our partners in the area, and truly appreciate the rapid and professional handling that the Port Authority, RWS, local units and our crew have shown to mitigate the consequences. It is still too early to speculate on the root cause of the accident, but we cooperate with authorities on establishing that as well.”

Kristian Mørch, CEO

Odfjell’s Emergency Response Team was immediately mobilized and is still in operation at the headquarters to secure that all relevant issues are addressed. This includes continued cooperation with the local authorities, and support to our customers and our crew.   

The contact between the jetty and Bow Jubail caused a puncture to the hull. The course of events are subject to investigation, including the role of the bridge team, Pilot, tug and why the hull was punctured by a foreign object in the waterfront. As part of Odfjell’s full cooperation with the external authorities to establish the relevant facts, we have constituted an Incident Investigation Team which in due time will determine the root cause. This team also includes independent external expertise. As of 17:30 local time Tuesday June 27, Bow Jubail is safely berthed at yard for repairs. 

Wednesday June 27th, the Port of Rotterdam published the following status update from the clean-up operations at 13:00 local time:

  • The Port of Rotterdam Authority’s initial priority is the clean-up of the port water and contaminated vessels. Priority is being given to this to enable vessels to enter and leave the ports and for the logistics chain to resume.
  • Uninterrupted supply and distribution are vital for the business process continuity of companies in the port. For a number of companies in the incident area, a substantial amount of this supply and distribution usually takes place via the 3rd Petroleumhaven. This supply and distribution have been seriously disrupted since Saturday, June 23 2018 as a consequence of the incident. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is consulting closely with the involved companies to instigate measures to ensure that supply and distribution can be resumed as quickly as possible. When taking such measures, one of the main focus areas is to limit as far as possible any nuisance for local residents and the living environment.
  • Approximately 160 tonnes of the 200 tonnes of spilled oil had been cleared by Wednesday morning. The remaining oil is expected to be cleared less quickly. After cleaning the port water and vessels, a start will be made to clean up the contaminated jetties, slopes, banks and other port infrastructure. This is expected to take several weeks.
  • A 24/7-capacity washing facility has been established to clean the contaminated vessels. 16 of the over 50 inland vessels have now been cleaned, as have 4 of the 15 contaminated sea-going vessels.
  • The vessel involved in the collision with the jetty on Saturday, June 23 2018 has been towed from its original berth to a shipyard on the opposite side in the Botlek area.
  • The collection and cleaning of infected birds is coordinated by Rijkswaterstaat. 

For media inquiries, please contact: or tel: +47 41 54 88 54 (Norway).

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