Specialists in battle to stop Norwegian oil spill spread
Oslo – Specialists were working at high speed Sunday to stop the spread of diesel fuel oil threatening coastal areas of southern Norway after a Panamanian freighter ran aground two days earlier. Norwegian authorities said efforts were above all focused on protecting fjords, bays and rivers threatened by several hundred tons of the diesel oil.
They said it was “particularly unfortunate” that strong winds were prevailing, driving the toxic oil towards the coastline.
They said that the oil had already reached several nature reserve areas and the concern was that the oil would spread along the Skagerrak sound coastline between Larvik and Kristiansand, some 200 kilometres to the south-west.
Volunteer workers had begun to collect and try to clean up sea birds covered with the oil.
The oil spill began after the Panama-registered freighter Full City, with a crew of 23 Chinese seamen, suffered engine failure and ran aground in stormy conditions overnight Friday.
Conservationists criticised what they called the failure by authorities to act fast enough in setting up barriers, but the coastguard said priority had to be given to saving the ship’s crew, while weather conditions had been very difficult.
The environmental group World Wildlife Fund said the accident occurred in the middle of the Lille Sastein bird sanctuary area.
Meanwhile in a separate maritime accident, Swedish officials said the search had been called of for six missing Russian and Ukrainian seamen from the Norwegian freighter Langeland which sank overnight Friday in heavy seas in Kattegat strait. The ship has since been located lying at a depth of 100 metres.