Continued Leak from RFA Darkdale

Port Control would like to advise the public that oil from RFA Darkdale has today been observed coming into James Bay. The wreck of the Second World War era vessel is occasionally observed to leak some of the oil residue that remains in the wreck, and due to today’s sea and wind conditions small amounts of this is currently washing toward the shore.

Through dynamic risk assessment, the implications of the current leak, and what mitigating actions can be taken to address the issue, are being assessed. This will allow authorities to understand what the potential impacts might be, and what, if anything, is needed to address these.

Whilst monitoring and assessment continue, the public is advised that with immediate affect James Bay and Rupert’s Bay will be closed to all recreational swimming and scuba diving.

It is also advisable for fishermen to avoid fishing in these areas until further notice.

In monitoring the situation, the public will be advised if it is deemed necessary to take any further action. However, it is likely that with a change in wind and current direction over the coming days the residue will drift offshore.

The public is thanked in advance for their patience and co-operation. Further information will be provided on this matter shortly.

Notes to Editor:

A Ministry of Defence (MOD) project to remove oil from the wreck of the RFA Darkdale was completed in August 2015. All oil that could be pumped from the wreck was removed during the project. It was noted that small amounts of residue were left and as the wreck continues to rust away over the coming years, further small leaks of oil are inevitable.

18 November 2022

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470