02 November 2005

South Africa: Massive spill of fuel oil at Durban harbour

A massive clean-up operation is under way in the Durban harbour after a damaged ship spilled about 80 tonnes of fuel oil at a repair dock. The National Ports Authority (NPA) has allayed fears of a threat of environmental pollution.

By late this afternoon, the leak was stopped and the spill contained. It is believed to have been the worst oil spill in the Durban harbour. The German registered container vessel - the Doria - arrived in Durban's floating repair dock for repairs yesterday. She was apparently damaged when it ran aground off the coast of Angola, but was still able to sail past the Cape Coast for repairs in Durban.

The extent of the damage was not known at the time. The spill happened when the floating dock was in the process of being raised. The oil is believed to have leaked from a ruptured fuel tank. The shipping repair company and the authorities said all precautions to avoid possible spillage were taken.

The port authorities say four spillage contractors have been working round the clock.

The clean-up operation is likely to last about three days. The South African Maritime Safety Authority has carried out an inspection and is keeping a close watch to make sure that environmental damage is limited.

Source: www.sabcnews.com


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