Features December 2000 Issue

Offshore Log: A Crude Problem

A week before we reached Singapore, a tanker ran aground while transiting the strait, dumping 7,000 tons of light crude oil. This oil coated Indonesian and Malaysian fishing areas near Singapore, as well as fouling the shore for miles around. 

Our stem featured an ugly splatter of crude oil
when we arrived in Singapore.

Approaching Singapore, we spotted a debris-coated slick about a mile long and 50 yards wide. Had we known about the oil spill, we would have immediately realized what we were looking at. Concerned about sucking debris into the engine raw water intake, we gingerly picked our way through a narrow gap in the spill. When we arrived at Raffles Marina in Singapore there was a big black splatter of crude oil gracing our stem at the waterline. Too tired to deal with it in the darkness, we left it for the following morning—a potentially bad mistake.

The next morning we scraped as much of the thick, gooey oil—almost the consistency of liquid tar—from the fiberglass as we could, using a flexible plastic spreader. This was followed by a hard scrubbing with undiluted Simple Green, which is one powerful degreaser.

The oil had penetrated the gelcoat, leaving brownish-yellow stains. Two treatments with Davis FSR acid gel cleaner got rid of about 95% of the staining. The rest will have to wait until our next haulout.

These are two cleaners we would not do without. Simple Green in various concentrations can be used for anything from degreasing to general purpose cleaning. We use FSR for oil, rust, and water stain removal from gelcoat and white polyurethane painted surfaces. Simple Green is available in most grocery and hardware stores in the US.


Contact- Davis Instruments, 3465 Diablo Ave., Hayward, CA 94545; 510/732-9229.

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