Miles of oil spills: French coast is threatened by oil spill after Havarie in the Bay of Biscay
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Brest (dpa) - Two kilometer-long oil spills drive after the accident of the container ship «Grande America» in the Bay of Biscay on France's popular tourist west coast.
All government agencies on land and at sea were fully mobilized and worked closely together, informed the responsible lake prefecture. The two polluted zones drifted on Thursday about 300 kilometers west of the coastal town of La Rochelle in the sea.
Initial assessments confirmed the risk of coastal pollution, according to the prefecture. Potentially affected areas could only be determined in a few days. Environment Minister François de Rugy called as endangered regions, the department of Charente-Maritime with the port city of La Rochelle and the Gironde, in the middle Bordeaux. He did not rule out that the oil could reach the Spanish Bay of Biscay.
The Italian flagged freighter "Grande America" had set on Tuesday after a long fire. The heavy oil that has leaked out of the freighter is now to be pumped out with special ships. However, bad weather conditions and rough seas made the fight against pollution difficult, according to the prefecture. The ship also had dangerous goods on board.
The first contaminated zone is official information after about 13 kilometers long and 7 kilometers wide. The second carpet was about 9 kilometers long, also 7 kilometers wide and less compact than the first. The oil comes from the fuel tanks of the freighter. The oil spills drifted eastward at a speed of around 30 kilometers per day, said Stéphane Doll, head of the Cedre facility specializing in water pollution.
The west coast of France attracts many tourists in the summer, La Rochelle, the sandy beaches of the Vendée or the Île d'Oléron are popular. In the seaside resort of Biarritz, near the Spanish border, President Emmanuel Macron plans to host the summit of the seven major industrialized countries (G7) in August.
In France, memories of previous ship disasters were awakened. Long before "Erika", the tanker "Amoco Cadiz" ran aground in March 1978 in Brittany. Experts said the tanker catastrophes are not comparable to the sinking of the "Grande America", since much more oil had leaked out at that time.
Communication Lake Prefecture 11.3 (Frz.)
Communication Lake Prefecture, 12.3. (Frz).
Communication Lake Prefecture, 13.3. (Frz).
Communication Lake Prefecture, 14.3. (Frz).