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Croatia: Salvage attempt of a sailing yacht got out of control oil spill off the ACI Marina Pomer in Medulin / Istria.

Salvage attempt of a sailing yacht: oil spill in front of ACI Marina Pomer in Medulin / Istria
Oil booms had no effect whatsoever. Even treatment with binding agents could not completely remove the oil film.

Those who are currently heading for the ACI Marina Pomer in the Croatian town of Medulin/Istria first have to cross a small oil slick, only to be exposed to a not inconsiderable odor nuisance in the marina, because a sailing yacht from the area of the Medulin town harbor has lost large quantities of diesel fuel during an improper private towing and salvage operation, which spilled into the sea. Instead of stopping the diesel spill, however, it was decided to do nothing for the time being except for the relatively ineffective deployment of an oil boom, because obviously the responsibilities as well as the assumption of the costs have not been clarified. Until these bureaucratic hurdles are cleared, the diesel continues to leak and contaminate the seawater. Obviously, it seems that in the Medulin area the word has not yet spread that one liter of diesel contaminates about one million liters of sea water.


Salvage attempt of a sailing yacht: oil spill in front of ACI Marina Pomer in Medulin / Istria
On 7.10.2021 the obviously pilotless sailing yacht stranded during the bora on the rocks of an island off the town port of Medulin.


In Medulin soon to be mussels with diesel flavor?

Not only the environment is damaged by the uncontrolled, avoidable diesel leakage, but also a mussel farm located in the immediate vicinity is affected. Who soon finds mussels with diesel smell on the plate, should not be surprised. But also with the still numerous guests in the Marina Pomer the displeasure rises over the inaction of the authorities, because the smell is, so one reports, unbearable. The situation is strongly reminiscent of the fire in Medulin town marina. The wreckage of the burnt-out boats lay on the beach for more than a week, and their smell could also be heard from afar.

Sailing yacht torn loose from jetty at Bora

How did the situation come about? In the city harbor at Bora on October 7, 2021, an obviously improperly moored sailing yacht, a good ten meters long, broke loose and drifted onto the rocks of a small offshore island. It remained there until October 19, 2021, when the careless owner apparently made an unprofessional attempt to recover the yacht from the rocks after it had run aground. Both the hull and the diesel tank were damaged in the process.


Salvage attempt of a sailing yacht: oil spill in front of ACI Marina Pomer in Medulin / Istria
It was not until 20.10.2021 that the 10-meter sailing yacht was salvaged. The diesel tank had emptied completely into the Adriatic Sea by this time.


Recovery of yacht failed

He aborted the subsequent tow towards Medulin town harbor after a short time because the sailing yacht had sprung a leak and was in danger of sinking. Instead, he decided to head for the ACI Marina Pomer with the damaged sailor in tow. There he moored the leaking sailing yacht in the area of the crane and quickly left the area himself, because the marina management was understandably not very enthusiastic about the plan. Before the yacht could be craned, it had already partially sunk, diesel fuel was gushing out of the tank and contaminating the bay of Marina Pomer.


Salvage attempt of a sailing yacht: oil spill in front of ACI Marina Pomer in Medulin / Istria
In the morning of 19.10.2021 the sailing yacht was salvaged so unprofessionally that both hull and diesel tank were damaged. It was moored in the area of the crane of the Marina Pomer and sank completely. Considerable amounts of diesel leaked out.


Marina Pomer: Diesel smell leads to complaints

As guests of the Marina Pomer reported, one discussed as eagerly as loudly at the quay wall, but without really providing a remedy in an appropriate form. Rather alibimäßig “oil barriers” were attached, which showed however as good as no effect. The next day, oil binding agents were applied, which were at least supposed to cause the oil film floating on the surface to sink to the bottom. However, these measures also failed to have any effect for the most part.


Salvage attempt of a sailing yacht: oil spill in front of ACI Marina Pomer in Medulin / Istria
Although, as visible in the picture, it was in the area of the crane, it was not immediately lifted out of the water, diesel could continue to leak.


Yugo continues to drive oil film

Meanwhile, a stronger Yugo has been announced, which is likely to ensure further spread of the oil slick off the ACI Marina Pomer.

Avast disasters catch municipalities off guard

One thing cannot be dismissed: In most countries outside Croatia, efforts are made to quickly repair damage in such cases, especially long-term environmental damage in some cases, not only because of the increasing importance of environmental protection, but also because of the impact on tourism. Cities and municipalities have contingency plans on how to proceed in such cases in order to avoid environmental damage as far as possible. In Croatia in general and in Medulin in particular, as already shown by the fire in the city harbor, there seems to be little to no preparation for such scenarios. Here, in view of the again rising tourism figures, especially in nautical tourism, should be urgently remedied. That this incident occurred in the off-season, can probably still be called “luck of the draw” from the point of view of those responsible for tourism in the region.

Mountain professionals would not have happened

In general, it should also be noted that privately organized nautical breakdown services, such as SeaHelp, are capable of carrying out such salvage operations professionally. With appropriately suitable equipment, SeaHelp, for example, ensures a safe salvage without environmental damage and, if possible, prevents further damage to the yacht. In this case, too, the bottom line would have been that it would have been more cost-effective for the owner to entrust the salvage to the professionals at SeaHelp and thus also be relieved of the risk of liability.

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