Salvage efforts could cause pollution

9th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Gibraltar admits 'New Flame' salvage will cause marine pollution.

9 January 2008

MADRID - The Gibraltar government acknowledged Tuesday that at least some metal junk, believed to include old exhaust pipes and iron bars, could fall to the seabed in the Bay of Algeciras when efforts to salvage a partially sunk cargo ship get underway next week.

The New Flame, a 190-metre long, 44,000-tonne Panamanian-flagged vessel, split in two half a mile off the coast of the British colony in December after colliding with an oil tanker. Spanish authorities claim the ship has since leaked fuel and oil onto beaches around the neighbouring Spanish port city of Algeciras and fear further environmental hazards when the ship is dismantled.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Peter Caruana stressed yesterday, however, that any junk that is lost during the three-month-long salvage operation will be recovered from the seabed. He also said batteries are not among the cargo. The New Flame, with a crew of 23, was carrying 270,000 tonnes of scrap metal and 750 tonnes of fuel and oil when it ran into the stern of a twin-hulled petrol tanker. The latter was able to continue on to Algeciras, but the New Flame took on water from the bow and partially sank in Gibraltar’s waters.

Spanish authorities say they collected more than 140 tonnes of fuel and oil-soaked sand from nearby beaches last month.

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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