Adrift: Fire-Hit Tanker in North Asia Shows Flaws in Safe-Haven Rules

"A fire-ravaged ship loaded with hazardous chemicals has become a maritime football in the north Pacific, with Japan and South Korea unwilling to give it refuge even though they risk a wider environmental disaster if it sinks."

"The plight of the Maritime Maisie, a chemical tanker which has spent seven weeks being towed in waters between the two Asian neighbors, highlights the lack of global consensus on designating ports as safe-havens for ships in distress.

The two countries are worried about the risk of a spill or environmental pollution at port, sources said.

The tanker, a 44,000 deadweight-ton vessel the size of nearly two football fields, collided with another ship nine nautical miles off Busan, South Korea, on December 29, said Ying Jinghua, fleet director of MSI Ship Management, which manages the tanker's day-to-day operation, and other shipping sources."

Keith Wallis reports for Reuters February 13, 2014.

Source: Reuters, 02/13/2014