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Tue, 01 Jul, 2014 12:05:32 AM
Oil spill off Swedish coast
FTimes-STT Report, July 1
 
File picture of Finnish volunteers found collecting oil from the shores of the archipelago of Raahe. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The oil spill off the Swedish coast is significant but not huge, according to the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).
 
Kati Tahvonen, a senior official from SYKE told news agency STT that the country is ready to prevent damages from an oil spill as huge as 30,000 tonnes.
 
The success in such prevention, according to Tahvonen, however would require participation of other countries in the offshore within three days.
 
According to the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, the ship M/S Immen which sank almost 40 years ago is leaking oil in the Baltic Sea.
 
The ship wreck lying off the Swedish island of Gotska Sandön had been carrying 62 tonnes of oil at the time of its sinking.
 
The Gotska Sandön is located a few hundred kilometres off the Finnish coast.
 
According to the Aftonbladet, the leaking of the M/S Immen is considered to be one of the most dangerous oil spills in the Swedish coastal waters.
 
There are a number of oil-carrying wrecks in the Baltic Sea and the authorities have been monitoring them closely.
 
“A lot of them are known. Emptying the wrecks at a go would be very expensive,” said Tahvonen, adding that the authorities will try to empty them gradually.
 
According to Tahvonen, there is a risk of the spill increasing during the summer months due to the water turning warmer. Time also adds up to the risk, when parts of the ship oxidise over the years at the seabed.
 
The first indication of the leak came via satellite images. Tahvonen pointed out that leaks are precisely monitored using satellite images. A hundred of images are taken every year in the Baltic Sea alone.
 
Flight inspections also confirmed that there was oil spill around the M/S Immen wreck.
 
Anders Ekstrand, head of the Swedish Coast Guard leading the operation told the Aftonbladet that the spill was gushing from the bottom of the ship.
 
According to Ekstrand, the ship lies 100 metres below the surface, making it difficult to clog the drain. Divers can access only up to a depth of 40 metres and the Swedes do not have the suitable underwater equipment.
 
 
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