China-bound bulker stranded in Riau cleared of uranium waste cargo allegations

The Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) has checked a recently stranded bulk carrier and found no toxic waste onboard as was initially feared according to local media reports.

The 56,000 dwt Hong Kong-flagged Ocean Carrier was stranded in waters off the Riau Islands last week before being towed to Sambu Island by two Indonesian navy vessels.

According to the ship’s manifest, it was transporting iron ore from the UAE port of Fujairah, close to Iran to Yang Jian in China. We have checked the cargo and interrogated the crew members. We have also opened one of the ship’s hatches to check its content,” TNI AL spokesperson Muhammad Zainuddin said. The ship’s hatch contained iron ore, in accordance with its manifest.“Another sign is that the ship’s crew members were not wearing special radioactive waste-handling attire,” Zainuddin added.

Apparently information leaked to the public had suggested that the ship was transporting uranium waste from Iran when it got stranded.

Head of the maritime security office for the western maritime zone Agung said that the cargo was now at Sambu Island port for further investigation. “We confirmed that the information was not true. We have checked and found no uranium material, […] only iron ore,” Agung said. He added that the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (Bapeten), the sea security agency (bakamla) and related institutions had worked hand in hand on the investigation so far.

Posted 11 February 2016

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