Monday, February 11, 2008
A ship damaged in a collision in the Strait of Gibraltar sank Sunday off the southern port city of Algeciras after being partly submerged for six months, coating nearby beaches in a film of oil, officials said. The mayor of Algeciras, Tomas Herrera, told journalists that emergency services had been called in to help clean the spill, which had begun to build up on 8-kilometer-long (5-mile-long) Rinconcillo beach. Panamanian-flagged cargo ship New Flame, carrying 27,000 tons of scrap metal, has been partly submerged since it collided with a Danish tanker carrying 37,000 tons of unleaded gasoline on Aug. 12.
The Partly Submerged New FlameThe Danish tanker was able to continue to tie up at Algeciras port while New Flame slowly split in two and began sinking. The stern of New Flame could be seen above the surface until Sunday, Herrera said. Antonio Munoz, local spokesman for environmental group Ecologists in Action, said oil could be found in small quantities on many beaches in the southwestern Mediterranean. "The New Flame is now totally submerged and sitting on the sea bed," Munoz told journalists.