Mile Long Toxic Slick Spreading From Italian Chemical Tanker
Cherbourg, France. November 5: Six days after the chemical tanker, Ievoli Sun, sank in 60 metres of water off the west coast of France, the toxic styrene continues to leak, Greenpeace warned today.
“Clearly the Ievoli Sun still presents a danger and every effort must be made to survey the vessel and begin recovery of the cargo and fuel on board” said Paul Horsman of Greenpeace International.
Greenpeace representatives overflew the site of the wreck this morning and observed the tell tale whitish styrene slick which has now spread a mile over the sea surface.
“Shell and Exxon, who own the cargo, and the ship owner need to ensure that no expense is spared to get the necessary equipment and personnel to the area” added Horsman.
The ongoing efforts are being greatly hampered by the deteriorating weather. The French Meteorological Office issued a statement this morning warning of winds up to 140 kph (90 mph) with waves swelling up to nine metres on the Atlantic coast. These storms would be stronger and more widespread than those last week in which the tanker sank.
“The weather and the presence of the toxic chemicals which hinder the operations show the severe limitations in capacity to effect a salvage operation with such cargoes” added Horsman, “these toxic cargoes, including nuclear materials clearly present an unacceptable risk.”
Further, ships are sailing into weather which is becoming increasingly unstable due to climate change - in this recent series of storms several vessels transiting this area have experienced problems - as well as major floods and storms in the UK and other parts of western Europe.
“This is a wake up call to the shipping industry, and indeed all of us, about the consequences of climate change,” added Horsman . “Just what measures now need to be taken to operate when the conditions are becoming increasingly unstable and unpredictable?”
In two weeks time Environment Ministers will be meeting in The Hague in the ongoing climate negotiations.
Greenpeace is demanding that governments take real action to reduce emissions.
video and stills available Contacts: Paul Horsman in Cherbourg +44 7801 212 990, +33 233 017743. Bruno Rebelle: +33 616 121 479
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