February 5, 2023

Tunisia and others are trying to reduce the damage caused by the sinking of a fuel tanker

Tunisia, April 17 (Reuters) – Tunisia will work with other countries to help prevent environmental damage following the sinking of a merchant ship carrying 1,000 tonnes of oil off the coast of Tunisia, the defense ministry said on Sunday.

The ship, en route from Equatorial Guinea to Malta, sank seven miles off the southern city of Cape Beach on Friday. The Tunisian navy rescued all seven crew members following the disaster call. read more

Officials said 750 tonnes to 1,000 tonnes of fuel was loaded.

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The Defense Ministry did not name the countries that offered to help, but local media reported that Italy was expected to send a naval vessel specializing in dealing with maritime disasters.

A special sea diving team has begun work to check for oil spills around the ship.

“The situation is reassuring and under control and no petrol leak from the sinking tank has been recorded so far,” Transport Minister Rabi Majidi said.

He said the next stage was “soft and sensitive” as the vessel had to be taken out of the water without allowing leakage.

On Saturday, Tunisian authorities launched an investigation into the sinking, which the environment ministry said was caused by bad weather.

“Tunisia will then determine the losses and seek compensation,” said Laila Chikaw, the environment minister.

The ministry said barriers would be put in place to control the spread of fuel.

Caps Beach has been experiencing massive pollution for years, with environmental groups claiming that factories in the area are dumping waste directly into the sea.

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Report by Tarek Amara; Editing by Muralikumar Anandaraman and Barbara Lewis

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