‘Crimson Polaris’: Ship carrying wood chips sinks after splitting, leaks oil off northern Japan port

A Panamanian-registered ship ran aground in a northern Japanese harbour and was leaking oil, but there were no injuries among the 21 crew and the oil leak was being controlled with no signs it had reached shore, the Japan Coast Guard said.

The 39,910-tonne vessel, the “Crimson Polaris,” was carrying wood chips when it ran aground on Wednesday morning in Hachinohe harbour. It managed to free itself, but due to poor weather was unable to move far and ended up anchoring about 4km out from the port.

A crack developed in the hull and oil began leaking, with a slick 5.1 km long by 1km wide visible by Thursday morning, the Coast Guard said, adding that containment measures were being taken by patrol boats.

The Crimson Polaris is stranded near a route used by ships entering and leaving Hachinohe Port.

The coast guard says it is trying to confirm whether the ship is at risk of sinking further and to prevent the section of the stern from colliding with other ships.

The Japanese government on Thursday morning set up a liaison office at the crisis management center in the Prime Minister’s Official Residence to gather information.