On December 24 at about 10:03 p.m., tanker Tropic Breeze was struck by M/Y Utopia IV approximately 15 miles NNW of New Providence Island, The Bahamas. According to a press release by the tanker’s management Maritime Management LLC, “the 160-foot tanker was traveling on its proper watch en route to Great Stirrup Cay when it was rear-ended by the 207-foot superyacht. The catastrophic force of the collision pierced the stern of the tanker causing the tanker to sink to the ocean floor at an estimated depth of 2,000 feet.”
However, due to the depth, it has been determined that Tropic Breeze can’t be safely salvaged.
While the management company initially reported that the Tropic Breeze crew were uninjured, rescued, and safely returned to a company-owned facility on shore, the Ministry of Transport and Housing of The Bahamas reported “injuries to several crewmembers.”
The tanker’s cargo consisted of “all non-persistent materials — LPG, marine gas, and automotive gas — all of which are lighter than water and will evaporate if exposed to surface air,” according to Maritime Management. Tropic Breeze was recently inspected in December 2021 and found to be fully compliant with all national and international safety and vessel integrity standards.
The crew of M/Y Amara responded to the tanker’s distress call and rescued all seven crewmembers aboard. At approximately 12:39 a.m., the Royal Bahamas Defence Force received a report that Utopia IV was taking on water and was making her way to Prince George Wharf. The Harbour Patrol Unit dispatched the P-40 vessel to assist and the yacht arrived at the wharf at 1:26 a.m.
The Port Department has begun a formal investigation into the incident and the Department of Environmental Health is conducting a review of the environmental impact.