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The Fortnight

Catastrophe avoided

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Nov 15, 1999 | From the print edition

about 10 tonnes of heating oil spilled into the Neva River after a tanker ran aground in St Petersburg. Fortunately, there was no immediate threat to drinking water or the environment, officials said. "We are talking about a spill of about 10 tonnes. No more than that," Andrei Alyabiev, local spokesman for Russia's emergencies ministry told Reuters .

He said the tanker, Nefterudovoz 7, belonging to a local shipping company was carrying about 5,000 tonnes of oil when the incident happened. Local television showed large patches of oil floating on the Neva. Alyabiev said the patches were being contained by buoys and then collected by special ships. But, the recovery could be made more difficult if some of the oil sank to the riverbed. The tanker's damaged compartments were sealed and the ship towed to a dock. Local officials told Petersburg television there was no danger to drinking water as supplies came from further upstream.

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