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Oil slicks hit French Atlantic beaches

LES SABLES-D’OLONNE, France, Jan 11 (AFP) – Traces of fuel oil have been discovered on up to three kilometres of western French beach on the Atlantic coast, officials said Sunday.

The oil was first detected late Saturday but pollution got worse overnight and by Sunday morning between two and three kilometres of beach was covered, an official said.

Tests are being carried out to identify the origin of the oil but the official said it could be the result of degassing for cleaning of an unidentified tanker or come from the Prestige tanker disaster.

The single-hulled Prestige sank off Spain’s northwestern coast of Galicia in November 2002, creating one of the world’s worst oil spills.

The wreck has so far leaked some 50,000 tonnes of oil into the sea and much of it has been washed up on western European coasts.

A clean-up operation was due to begin on the French beaches on Monday.


                                Subject: France news