February 26, 2002
An oil leak disrupted a 16-day “Colonial Brazil & the Caribbean” voyage on Cunard Line’s Caronia. Crew on the 668-passenger ship, docked in Rio de Janeiro, detected the spill at 10:28 p.m. Saturday. Press reports from Brazil say Cunard is subject to a fairly hefty fine -- over $400,000 -- for spilling 7,800 gallons of the slick stuff. Cunard says neither fact, the fine or the amount of spilled oil, has been verified. According to a Cunard spokesperson, “ship staff immediately executed a full Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP) to minimize any marine pollution. Authorities were duly notified, and all necessary and relevant steps were taken.” The leak was caused by a faulty seawater ballast tank which was quickly isolated and disabled. The ship, which remained in Rio a day extra, was cleared by Brazilian authorities and has resumed its cruise.