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[SkyTruth] Playing Hide-and-Seek! With an Oil Tanker…

Sept. 3, 2014 by John Amos, SkyTruthPlaying Hide-and-Seek! With an Oil Tanker…


The oil tanker SCF Byrranga, which was renamed the United Kalavrvta in March, is seen near the Isle of Arran, Scotland. The tanker is currently off the coast of Texas, carrying $100 million worth of Kurdish crude oil. (Tom Duncan/Thomson Reuters Eikon)

Supertankers loaded with crude have been making the news recently, mostly because they can’t find a place to sell the stuff. These tankers departed from Kurdistan, but Iraq claims the oil they carry is their property and the Kurds don’t have the right to sell it.  This global political dispute is playing out on the water in an interesting, albeit risky, way: the tankers are unable to come into port, so are lingering offshore, fully loaded, waiting for some kind of resolution.

Late in July, we tracked the tanker United Leadership as it roamed across the Mediterranean and loitered in the Atlantic off the coast of Morocco.Now we’re following one that’s a little closer to home:  the United Kalavrvta has been parked in a holding pattern in the northern Gulf of Mexico about 50 nautical miles southeast of Galveston…

SkyTruth - United Kalavrvta 8-4 Landsat8 pan detail

Above: Detail from Landsat-8 image taken August 4, 2014. Panchromatic band (15 meter pixels). United Kalavrvta marked by red circle. A similar-sized vessel also appears to be anchored about 4km to the west.

Read the full story on the SkyTruth Blog and see more on the latest satellite image of the United Kalavrvta here