Tuesday, February 28, 2006
A Liberian-flagged oil tanker spilled 30,000 tons of heavy fuel into the Suez Canal after hitting the western bank of the waterway an official of the Suez Canal Authority said. The Grigoroussa 1, which was travelling from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, hit the quay after it suffered a technical failure, said the official, declining to be named. The ship was partly damaged and spilled about 3,000 of the 58, 000 tons of heavy fuel aboard into the canal.
Tug boats were sent to the area where the accident occurred to pull the tanker so that the strategic waterway would not be blocked. Egyptian Environment Ministry dispatched a task force to clean the oil slick, said the official. About 7.5 percent of world sea trade is transmitted through the 190-km Suez canal, making it one of the busiest waterways in the world. Transit fees paid by shipping operators are one of Egypt's largest source of foreign currency and a total of 3.45 billion U.S. dollars were collected in 2005.