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Norway, Sweden Work to Contain Oil Spill

February 19, 2011

By SVEN GRUNDBERG

STOCKHOLM—The Norwegian Coastal Administration said Friday the large leakage of oil from the Icelandic container vessel Godafoss had been stopped.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Kystverket said it had not yet been able to evaluate the full extent of the spill, although it is known to have reached the coast of Fredrikstad, southern Norway.

Coast guards from Norway and Sweden have been co-operating to manage the spill the after the vessel ran aground late Thursday.

Ragnhild Bussqvist, duty officer at Kustbevakningen, the Swedish coast guard, told Dow Jones Newswires one of its aircraft had detected a 2.5-kilometer oil stain in the area.

Johan Marius Ly, emergency department director at Kystverket, said some oil had hit the shoreline near the accident location, but that most of the spill was drifting away from land.

The grounding of the Godafoss container ship occurred Thursday evening, off the islands of Hvaler near the Swedish border, some 100 meters from the shoreline. The location is close to the Outer Hvaler natural park, which consists of muddy seabeds and rocky sea bottoms with a rich coral underwater ecosystem.

“Currently the oil has drifted into the area of the natural park,” Mr. Ly said.

Ase Richter from the environment department of the County Governor in Ostfold said it was “particularly concerned about the seabirds and the unique seabed” in the Outer Hvaler natural park.

Kystverket said Godafoss is carrying around 800 metric tons of heavy fuel oil, equivalent to approximately 204,800 gallons. Coastguards have concluded there are holes in two of the ship’s fuel tanks.

With the vessel on Norwegian waters, the NCA is responsible for managing the spill response operation. It has sent two tugboats, an oil spill response vessel and two coast-guard vessels to the location. The Swedish coast guard has sent an oil-spill response vessel, which is currently collecting leaked heavy oil from the waters.

One of the containers on the Godafoss contains 12 tons of dynamite, but Kystverket doesn’t see the explosives posing any danger because the ship stands steady and there is no apparent risk of fire on board.

The vessel is registered in Antigua and Barbuda and is part of the Icelandic shipping company Eimskip – CTG AS fleet. It was on its way from Fredrikstad, Norway to Helsingborg, southern Sweden.

Kystverket said it would charge the shipping company with the full costs of the cleanup operation.

Olafur Hand, spokesperson at Eimskip, said it would cooperate with the authorities and that currently it’s focused on resolving the situation.

“After we have taken care of the situation and made sure that the environment and our crew is safe, we will start worrying about possible consequences for our part,” Mr. Hand told Dow Jones Newswires.

It isn’t yet clear what caused the vessel to run aground. None of the 14 crew members was hurt in the accident.

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  1. October 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm
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