A leak of heating oil occurred during the unloading of a tanker into a storage capacity of 6000 m3, polluting a channel of the harbour in Brussels. Local residents alerted local authorities and media. Fire-fighters set up 4 booms despite the wind and the current; the traffic was halted in the harbour and much of the fuel was pumped. The use of dispersant allowed the rest to disappear.
The ship’s personnel disconnected the connection prior to ask the authorisation to the site staff, as written in the procedure. The strong smell of hydrocarbons allowed them to realize and correct the mistake; meanwhile 2 m³ spread throughout the port. The authorities pointed a lack of clarity in the procedure and a lack of communication during transfer operations. The company was fined for non-compliance with operating conditions.
An accident occurred on another site holding 1.5 km away on 22/12 (ARIA 26981).