MV New Flame

MV New Flame

Coordinates: 36°06′06″N 5°20′45″W / 36.10167°N 5.34583°W / 36.10167; -5.34583

The New Flame sinking off Europa Point, 13 August 2007
The New Flame sinking off Europa Point, 13 August 2007
Name: New Flame (previously Aditya Gautam and Skaustrand)
Owner: Transmar (previously Textiles & Industries Ltd)
Port of registry: Panama
Builder: Daewoo H.I, South Korea
Christened: Skaustrand
Completed: June 1994
Fate: Sunk
Status: Salvaged for scrap
General characteristics
Class and type: Double hull, bulk carrier
Tonnage: 44,000 DWT
27,000 GT ITC
Length: 190 m (623.36 ft)
Beam: 30 m (98.43 ft)
Height: 28 m (91.86 ft)
Draft: 59.1 ft (18.01 m)

M/V New Flame was a Panamanian bulk-carrier cargo ship. It collided with an oil tanker off Europa Point, the southernmost tip of Gibraltar on 12 August 2007, and ended up partially submerged in the Strait of Gibraltar. The vessel broke into two in December 2007 amid numerous unsuccessful recovery efforts. The cargo was salvaged and the stern section removed for scrap. Following the crew's rescue, the captain was arrested for having departed without authorisation and later released on bail pending an investigation into the circumstances of the incident.


Ship description

New Flame measured 190 metres (620 ft) long, 30 metres (98 ft) wide and 28 metres (92 ft) tall, of which 16 metres (52 ft) were under the water line. It measured 26,824 gross tons and had a capacity of nearly 44,000 metric tons deadweight (DWT). At time of the incident it had a crew of 23 and it was owned by the Greek company Transmar. The ship was built in June 1994 by Daewoo H.I, South Korea and first named as Skaustrand. From 1995 it was named Aditya Gautam and was owned by the Indian company Century Textiles & Industries Ltd who sold it in 2005 to Transmar for US$22.5 million.[1][2]


In the early morning of 12 August 2007 the Panamanian cargo ship New Flame ran into the stern of the Danish petroleum tanker Torm Gertrud en route to Turkey after departing from Gibraltar, about one kilometre south of Europa Point, Gibraltar.[3] The New Flame was carrying 27,000 tons of scrap metal and 750 tons of fuel oil, which had just been topped up in Gibraltar. The Torm Gertrud is a double hulled petrol tanker built 2002 with a crew of 26, considered to be of a modern and high quality construction.[4] It was scheduled to complete a personnel transfer off limits of the Spanish port of Algeciras.[5] The tanker proceeded towards Algeciras after the collision, where it was secured, with its cargo of 39,000 tons of fuel, whilst the New Flame took water by the bow. The ship was abandoned by the crew and thereafter became partially submerged, drifted and eventually ran aground nearby.

Recovery efforts

Recovery efforts underway, 13 October 2007

The rescue response at the working level of Gibraltar was commended,[6] although there was considerable criticism at a local level in Spain, due to the dispute between Spain and Gibraltar.

Removal of the vessel’s fuel was initiated on 15 August with the arrival of the tug Hua-An,[7] later joined by the tug Fotiy krylov (one of the largest of the world[7]). It was the first priority of the salvage operation in order to minimise the environmental risk of the operation, followed by operations to refloat the ship.[8] On 20 August the salvage operation turned to the controlled break-up of the ship in two halves[9][10] and the first reports of a 'minor' oil-spill were reported. It was reported that 500 tons of fuel remained on board.[11] The tug Fotiy Krylov had attempted to move the ship and divers reviewed any damage, concluding that the ship's structural integrity was enough to continue with the removal of fuel. By 24 August the likely outcome would be to refloat the ship, even if only partially to then tow to a safer location.[12]

The salvage companies involved were Tsavliris (Greece) and Svitzer Wijsmuller Salvage (Dutch subcontractors) who also took part in the fuel extraction and the refloating of the Sierra Nava, which ran aground near Algeciras in January 2007 and the Don Pedro which ran aground near Ibiza in the same year. When it was announced that no oil remained in the wreck,[13] it was also noted that the ship would not be salvaged in a single piece due to structural damage and would be instead cut in two parts at one-third of its length from the bow. The stern section will be removed first, towed to a safe area, its cargo removed and then taken to dry dock in Gibraltar. On completion, the bow part would have been removed in parts where it rests.

The operation was scheduled to start in October with the removal of the stern in November and the bow as late as March 2008. However, the salvage company experienced technical difficulties in cutting up the vessel.[14] Following heavily prolonged bad weather, the vessel broke up into two on 22 December 2007, prompting an emergency meeting by the Government of Gibraltar with maritime authorities.[15] As of 30 December 2007, lifting operations continue on the New Flame.[16]

28 December 2007. The vessel's insurers appointed Titan Maritime to salve the wreck and cargo. Titan is one of the world's largest marine salvage companies.

8 January 2008. Executives of Titan Marine Salvage made a presentation to Gibraltar and Spanish journalists outlining their plan to salvage the ship and contain any oil spills. They stated that the cargo was scrap iron. This company was previously responsible for the salvage of the Spabunker IV, a fully laden Spanish oil bunkering vessel which sank in the bay.[17]

15 February 2009. The salvage of the remaining section of the New Flame is still under way, due to Spanish media and politicians twisting reports provided by the Gibraltar Government they are not providing as detailed information regarding the ongoing salvage as they had been,[18] the exclusion zone around the site is still in effect.[19]

16 February 2009. The salvage operation of the New Flame featured on "Salvage Code Red" on the National Geographic Channel first airing at 2100hrs GMT on 16-02-2009

Possible disaster effects

Most of the speculation so far has been on the effect of an oil spill, yet none occurred at the collision; some occurred during salvage but was contained. No speculation has been made on the possible effects that the main cargo (scrap metal) may have. There have been repeated concerns raised that incidents in the area are commonplace; this was the second incident of the year, with local politicians on both Gibraltar and Spanish sides calling for a review of procedures.[20][21][22] On 21 August the Spanish Maritime Safety Agency (Salvamento Maritimo) announced that it had put in place its anti-pollution alert program. The bulk of these measures is the deployment of the ship "Don Inda", based in Galicia which arrived at Algeciras on 14 August.[23] On 31 August the European Maritime Safety Agency announced that, at the request of the Spanish administration the ship "Mistra Bay", which specialises on treatment of pollution, will be sent to the area. The ship is based in Malta and it would come into action should the fears that New Flame will split in two come true.[24][25][26]

The Government of Gibraltar announced on 14 September 2007 that all fuel was removed from the vessel, totalling 780 cubic metres. The operation had been hampered by bad weather and the exposed location of the wreck. It is only the ship and its cargo of scrap that remains.[13]

Following continued media speculation and accusations in Spain the Government of Gibraltar announced it would make no further public comment, except that "This salvage operation has taken place more quickly than comparable salvage operations elsewhere in the world."[27]

On 6 August 2008, the stern section was lifted and taken to the ship repair yard.[28]

Legal Issues

The captain, Demetrio Konstantinos, a Greek national, was arrested[8] and later released on bail.[29] He is facing safety charges that the New Flame may have left the Port of Gibraltar without authorisation.


  1. ^ "The company". Transmar Shipping Co S.A. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  2. ^ "New Flame. Seen here in New York, USA. July, 2007". Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  3. ^ "177/2007, Collision between vessels 'New Flame' and 'Torm Gertrude'" (PDF) (Press release). Government of Gibraltar Press Release. 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  5. ^ "New Flame Final Report," (PDF) (Press release). Gibraltar Maritime Administration. 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  6. ^ "New Flame Collision - Port lookout and the need to ensure the compatibility of uses of the sea". Gibfocus. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  7. ^ a b "180/2007, First Phase Salvage" (PDF) (Press release). Government of Gibraltar Press Release. 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  8. ^ a b "179/2007, Govt - Salvage Plan" (PDF) (Press release). Government of Gibraltar Press Release. 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  9. ^ "188/2007, Salvage Operation - MV 'New Flame'" (PDF) (Press release). Government of Gibraltar Press Release. 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  10. ^ "Temen que el barco encallado en Algeciras pueda partirse en dos" (in Spanish). Reuters. 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  11. ^ "Ship carrying 27,000 tons of scrap about to split in two off Gibraltar: officials". International Herald Tribune. 22 August 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  12. ^ "189/2007, Salvage Operation 'New Flame' Update 1" (PDF) (Press release). Government of Gibraltar Press Release. 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  13. ^ a b "206/2007, MV 'New Flame'" (PDF) (Press release). Government of Gibraltar Press Release. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  14. ^ "Troubled waters over New Flame salvage operation". Gibfocus. 2 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-08. [dead link]
  15. ^ "New Flame's stern breaks up and begins to sink". Gibfocus. 22 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-08. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Andalucian Parliament rejects Opposition demands for explanation on New Flame". Gibfocus. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-08. [dead link]
  17. ^ Spabunker IV sinks
  20. ^ "Concerns from opposition party in Gib". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  21. ^ "Spanish local politicians call for talks and issues under Spanish premise". Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  22. ^ "European Parliament: One-minute speeches on matters of political importance" (in Spanish). 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2007-09-05. [dead link]
  23. ^ "Spanish readiness for possible-oil spill" (in Spanish) (PDF) (Press release). Salvamento Maritimo. 2007-08-21.!repositorio/Image/root/21.08.07%20Nota%20Algeciras.pdf. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  24. ^ "Europe sends anti-pollution ship to the "New Flame" incident area at Spain's request" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  25. ^ "Spain requests EMSA assistance after ship accident off Gibraltar" (Press release). European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  26. ^ "Spain requests EMSA assistance after ship accident off Gibraltar" (PDF) (Press release). European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). 07-08-31. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  27. ^ information given publicly in good faith has abused
  28. ^ New Flame finally out
  29. ^ "Captain arrested". Gibfocus. 13 August 2007. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 


External links

See also

MV Fedra

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