Ship may still be leaking oil one week after sinking in the Atlantic

A WEEK after the Oleg Naydenov Russian fishing boat sank in the Atlantic off the Canary Islands, wind conditions still have not allowed a continual fuel leak to be cleared up.

The 120-metre ship sank about 27 kilometres south of Gran Canaria after being towed out of Las Palmas port as an uncontrollable fire raged inside.

Although it’s uncertain how much fuel is left in the tanks following the fire, the ship had loaded 1,409 tonnes of heavy fuel before catching fire and initial official estimates spoke of an amount of up to 1,000 cubic metres.

Over the last week, strong winds have been blowing non-stop in the area, pushing the spillage further away from land but creating waves that are impeding Marine Rescue clear-up operations.

The Environmental Ministry has said that the main bulk of the spillage is now 176 kilometres away from Gran Canaria, having moved 46 kilometres over the last 24 hours, but it also said that the ship is still leaking.

A Norwegian ship has now arrived in the area and was expected to send a robotic submarine down today to investigate and take photos.

Meanwhile ecologists are working with the authorities to draw up an action plan to deal with affected fauna, although so far only three animals (two turtles and a bird) have been found requiring treatment.

Jorge Asiain Sastre, an engineer who formed part of a committee created after the Prestige catastrophe, has said that the best option if the ship is still leaking would be to seal the hull.

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