Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunken dredger in Baltic Sea poses ecological threat

Polish bucket dredger Rozgwiazda which sunk in the Baltic Sea five days ago killing at least two people poses an ecological threat due to tanks containing 25 tonnes of oil.

So far rough sees sea and strong have hindered divers reaching the dredger and conditions in the next few days are not expected to improve.

Ecologists point to the slick opf oil which has formed above the ship as evidence that time is of the essence to prevent an environmental catastrophe in the area. A crisis centre, operating in the north-western city of Szczecin for a few days now, is preparing for the worst. Fire-fighters, army and other rescue services from the seaside locations are on standby.

The Polish bucket dredger Rozgwiazda capsized on Friday at 6.58 am while it was being towed to the port of Swinoujscie, north-western Poland. The vessel’s towline broke and it sunk. So far rescuers found two bodies of the dredger’s crew, an empty capsized life raft and a lifebelt form the boat. The search for the remaining three members of the crew was broken off.