Sunken Antarctic cruise ship leaves oil spill

November 30, 2007 05:49


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Bad weather has kept clean-up experts from containing a 1.5 kilometer-long (mile-long) diesel spill caused when an Antarctic cruise boat struck an iceberg and sank last week, Chilean officials said. The long, narrow spill is for now penned in by large chunks of floating ice in the Bransfield Strait, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of King George Island. But cleanup officials still want to install boom barriers to isolate the slick. About 2,500 penguins and other marine birds inhabit the area at this time of year, previous Chilean navy reports said. Scientists who have examined the spill site report no damage to the birds _ although remains unclear whether, below the ice, underwater marine life has been harmed. Diesel is the least harmful type of hydrocarbon product, they said at a news conference Thursday.

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