Oil slick threatens island near Sweden

Published: Friday 15 December 2006

Finnbirch lying stranded in th Oil leakage from a cargo ship that sank near Oland Island is now threatening the eco-sensitive landmass off the southeast coast of Sweden. The incident occurred in the first week of November, when the 8,500-tonne vessel Finnbirch got caught in a sea storm and sank 20 km off the island. The vessel was on its way to Denmark's Aarhus from Helsinki and was carrying about 250 tonnes of heavy oil and another 10 tonnes of machine oil.

Bad weather has hindered an assessment of how much oil leaked into the sea and the potential environmental damage caused due to it. According to local media reports, the oil slick has fouled an area 10-km long and 400-m wide along the Swedish coastline. Meanwhile, the Helsinki Commission (an environmental protection agency set up by countries with a Baltic coastline to allow the pooling of resources in case of such accidents) has offered its assistance to Sweden to contain the oil spill. The Swedish government had recently applied to include Oland Island in the list of world heritage sites.

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