Oil covers over 300 miles of Japanese coast, ever increasing

Jan 16, 1997 01:00 AM

The battle against Japan's worst-ever oil spill expanded to previously untouched parts of the coast on Thursday, Jan. 16, with new oil leaks discovered from the wrecked Russian tanker. Regional Maritime Safety Agency (MSA) authorities in Niigata in northern Japan warned that oil slicks would soon reach the shores of Toyama and Niigata prefectures, adding to the six regions across more than 300 miles hit by the spill. The prefectures, heavily dependent on fisheries and tourism, have struggled to protect and clean shores dotted with shellfish farms, scenic beaches and marine bird sanctuaries. MSA patrol boats reported a 22-mile-long slick near the tip of the Noto Peninsula, 240 miles north-west of Tokyo, and agency officials said they feared currents would carry slicks and globs of solid oil far beyond. "As the north wind subsides, the speed at which the oil is moving, aided by currents, will further accelerate,'' an MSA official told. Adding to the worries was the discovery of additional spillagefrom a newly discovered ruptured tank in the tanker's bow, which lies mangled and grounded near the shore at Mikuni fishing village, one of the worst-hit areas. Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto ordered Transport Minister Makoto Koga and MSA chief Yasutoshi Tsuchisaka to step up the battle, much of which has been waged by local authorities, fisherman and volunteers. "There is not much (oil-cleaning) equipment available in the world but I directed the officials to focus their efforts on draining fuel oil from the bow,'' Hashimoto told.
The MSA raised its estimate of oil spilled from the bow to 5,000 tons, from the earlier 3,700 tons estimate issued when the crisis began two weeks earlier. Officials said that calmer seas on Thursday raised hopes that their goal of emptying the bow of remaining oil with pumps could be achieved within a week. The stern of the 26-year-old Nakhodka, which held most of the 133,000-barrel cargo of heavy oil, is also believed to be leaking. The stern went down about 80 miles off thecoast of Shimane Prefecture shortly after the ship broke up in rough seas on Jan. 2, but authorities have yet to pinpoint its location in deep water. The slicks and solid clumps of oil continued to drift up against a ring of oil fences erected to protect 15 nuclear reactors scattered around Wakasa Bay, the world's biggest concentration of nuclear power plants. Nuclear plant officials said the fences had so far kept oil from intake pipes which draw in seawater to serve as a coolant for the reactors. Japanese environmentalists have appealed for volunteers to clean up two island bird sanctuaries which have been coated with oil.

Source: not available
Alexander's Commentary

Change of face - change of phase

In the period of July 20 till August 3, 2015, Alexander will be out of the office and the site will not or only irreg

read more ...
« October 2020 »
October
MoTuWeThFrSaSu
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

Register to announce Your Event

View All Events