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Monday, December 11, 2006

Ship leaks tonnes of oil into Shannon estuary

A pollution alert has been declared in the Shannon estuary after it emerged this morning that 10 tonnes of oil has leaked from a cargo ship.

The accident happened at 9.15 Sunday morning when the vessel, the Cobalt Water, was leaving port at the Aughinish Alumina refinery(right) when it struck a pier. A hole appeared and oil began to leak. Workers eventually plugged the hole however 10 tones of oil had leaked into the estuary.

Harbor Master Captain Alan Coughlan described the incident yesterday as a reasonably serious spillage.

Clean-up specialists from Limerick and Clare are now on their way to the scene and helicopter is also being deployed to gather from the air, where the oil has reached land.

Aughinish is an alumina refinery situated on Aughinish Island on the south side of the Shannon estuary between Askeaton and Foynes, 20 miles downstream from Limerick

NEW DETAILS:The swift action of a spillage Emergency Response Unit has prevented a major environmental disaster it is being reported tonight.

Although a sheet of surface oil is reported on the Limerick side of the Estuary near Loughil it is thought that a 3 inch hole in the side of the tanker was flowing for about an hour and a half before it was plugged.

However the 10 tonne figure was apparently a “worst estimate” and it is now thought that considerably less actually leaked.

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