Russian tanker breaks, oil slick threatens Japan coast

Jan 15, 1997 01:00 AM

Jan. 4, 1997 An oil slick threatened Japan's western coastline after a Russian-registered oil tanker sprang a leak on Friday Jan. 3. A large volume of heavy oil gushed from the listing tanker, abandoned by the crew members 150 km (90 miles) north-east of the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan. About two-thirds of the 19,000 tonnes of the C grade oil on board the 13,157-tonne Nakhodka leaked out immediately and there were fears of environmental damage to Japan's western coastline. The slick headed right for the Japanese coast and is likely to hit the central region from as far south as Kyoto and Fukui prefecture and as far north as Ishikawa prefecture in the Noto peninsula. The coastline there is noted for its beauty and also a large effect on the fishing industry in the area is expected, which is a significant part of the local economy. Waves of more than 20 feet (six metres) prevented halting the leak and containing the spread of the slick, which was being driven towards the Japanese coast by the prevailing wind. Crew members indicated the tanker, which was constructed in 1970, may have ruptured under the force of heavy waves while en route from China to Russia. Japanese authorities found 31 of the tanker's 32 crew adrift in life boats in rough seas on Thursday but were still searching for the captain.

Source: not available
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