Ambassador to Britain called to account for polluting wreck

12th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Environment Minister announced yesterday that the Spanish government has summoned the British ambassador for a consultation over the way the Gibraltarian government handled the sinking of scrap ship New Flame.

12 February 2008

MADRID -  Environment Minister Cristina Narbona announced yesterday that the Spanish government has summoned the British ambassador to Spain, Denise Holt, for a consultation over the way the Gibraltarian government handled the sinking of scrap ship New Flame.

The Panamanian-flagged vessel sank completely on Sunday, some six months after its collision with a tanker left it semi-submerged in the Strait of Gibraltar. Located a mile and a half off the Gibraltarian coast, the stricken vessel has leaked oil onto 1.5 kilometres of beaches.

Despite this, Gibraltarian authorities have sought to downplay the impact of the sinking on Sunday, claiming it was "just a slight movement of the stern, which has sunk a few more metres."

The chief minister of Gibraltar, Peter Caruana, announced at the end of last year that the boat, which is still carrying 42,000 tonnes of scrap metal, would be successfully dismantled before it sank. However, the rescue is yet to be completed.

The work started once more Monday morning, despite poor weather conditions. Heavy chains are being used to refloat the vessel, while 55 workers were brought in to clean up several beaches, which have been affected by spillages from the New Flame.

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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