Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Environmental authorities in Brazil were evaluating Monday the damage caused by a leak of 5,000 litres of lubricant oil from a Norwegian-flagged ship off the country's coast. Beth Wagner, general manager of the Centre for Environmental Resources (CRA), said the ship NCC Jupail suffered an accident late Saturday, when it crashed into the Aratu harbour in the north-eastern state of Bahia and its hull broke. The ship was leaving Brazil for Amsterdam. The authorities set up protection barriers and were trying to absorb the lubricant Monday. However, some 20 square kilometres near the town of Candeias and the island of Mares had been polluted."The stain is large and the weather is not helping: it is raining and there is a lot of wind in Bahia, which favours the spread. Initially the leak has not reached the beaches and the mangrove swamps, but it is moving towards Mares island, and a team has gone there to evaluate the situation," said Cintia Levita, emergency coordinator at the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources. Granel Maritime Agency, in charge for the shipment of the lubricant, was set to be fined over the accident. Manager Israel Vasconcelos said technicians would try to pump the rest of the load out of the ship in order to repair it. The hull shows a hole with a diametre of 3 metres.

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