Secretary of State for the North Sea Bart Tommelein flies with us to evaluate the Flinterstar situation

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Mr Tommelein prepares for take off.
15/10/2015
Secretary of State for the North Sea Bart Tommelein flies with us to evaluate the Flinterstar situation
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On Friday the 9th of October, Secretary of State for the North Sea Bart Tommelein flew with us to evaluate the Flinterstar situation at sea. The ship sank after a collision with another ship near Zeebrugge. Mr Tommelein wanted to see how the situation was at sea and if more measurements should be taken to protect the environment.

Collision at sea

On Tuesday morning the 6th of October 2015, the gas tanker Al Oraiq and the carrier Flinterstar collided in Belgian waters. Since that day, the scientific service Management Unit of the Mathematical Model of the North Sea (MUMM), of our Institute works day and night to evaluate the situation. Our aircraft flies several times a day (normally it flies several times a week) over the place of the incident. Our collaborators make daily predictions of the evolution of the oil spilled from the wreck. This way we can warn the coastal communities if there is a danger of oil on the beach. Until today, no oil has been found on the Belgian beaches.

Secretary of State Tommelein

The 9th of October, the aircraft OO-MMM landed after a flight at the airport of Ostend. Mr Tommelein listened to the safety briefing and climbed on board. After a flight of one hour over the area of the sunken ship, he talked to the press. “The situation is serious but not dramatic. The different Coast Gard partners work together to reduce the impact on the environment to a minimum. The oil that is leaking from the tanks, is cleaned up as quickly as possible” says Tommelein.

Since 1991, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is responsible for the aerial surveillance of the Belgian part of the North Sea.

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