Published: Monday 31 May 1999

About 110,000 litres (24,200 gallons) of diesel oil was spilled after two tankers collided near southern Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, an official from the city's environment department said. The accident took place 500 metres from the Nha Be Petroleum Storage Depot.

"About 110,000 litres of diesel spilled into the Nha Be river, and strong currents quickly spread the oil," he said. Though more time was needed to assess the full environmental impact of the spill, the official said it would not be serious and cleanup operations were already underway.

The tanker, Nhat Thuan I , carrying 520,000 litres (114,400 gallons) of diesel struck Hiep Hoa 2 , another tanker carrying 438,000 litres (96,360 gallons) of diesel, the official Vietnam news daily reported. The crew of Hiep Hoa 2 tried to plug a 1.3-metre gash in the ship's side but were unable to contain the leak, it added. The paper quoted officials as saying the diesel oil had polluted land and mangrove forests in the area and that marine animals and wildlife were threatened.

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