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ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER! Super Yacht ‘Elsa’ Stranded In Saba Has Spilled All The Diesel From Its 11,000 Gallon Tanks Into The Ocean

SUPER SPILLAGE: Stranded Yacht Elsa

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THE BOTTOM — Salvage efforts are to get underway today after the 157-foot (48-meter) motor yacht Elsa ran aground off the Caribbean island of Saba, located some 20 nautical miles from Sint Maarten.

Details surrounding how the vessel ended up on the rocks in Ladder Bay are still unclear, but it is known that all guests and crew made it from the vessel unharmed.

The ocean waters around the bay were not so fortunate, however, as local reports said that diesel from the yacht’s 11,359-gallon (43,000-liter) fuel tanks are now spilling into the surrounding area.

The owner of the yacht is working together with local authorities on devising a safe solution to re-float Elsa whilst causing as little damage to the environment as possible. Equipment have been transferred to the area over the last few days and it is believed that the draining of the remaining fuel on board will be carried out today.

Early indications suggest that a mooring failure might have caused Elsa to drift onto shore after a smaller sailing yacht met a very similar fate just two weeks prior.

Saba’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment is investigating the possibility and will meanwhile ensure that all mariners in the area are well-advised on safe mooring practices.

Elsa was built in 2004 by Scheepswerf Peter Sijperda in the Netherlands as Grace. Weber Yacht Design designed her interior and exterior spaces.

Although Saba island, with its capital city of “The Bottom,” is a Dutch island, the people there speak English.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 50 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.


  1. ramondou jacky
    June 6, 2017 at 12:18 PM — Reply

    quand ELSA sera sorti de la cote de SABA

    • June 6, 2017 at 12:45 PM — Reply

      Mr. Ramondou Jacky asks in French: “Do we know when the super yacht Elsa will be removed from Saba island?”

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