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10 September 2004


"Spain Says Last Oil Sucked Out of Prestige Tanker

MADRID (Reuters) - The last few tons of sticky toxic fuel oil have been sucked out of the wreck of the Prestige tanker, Spain said on Friday, almost two years after the ship went down in the country's worst environmental disaster.

The Prestige broke in half and sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic after days struggling in high winds in November 2002, spewing thick oil over a once pristine coastline in the north-western region of Galicia.

"In recent days they have completed the extraction of fuel from the wreck," Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told a news conference.
"We can say that 13,000 tons have been extracted," she said, adding the government had not yet decided what to do with the fuel.

Coming up with a plan to deal with the wreck took months, partly because it lay 3.8 km (2.4 miles) down on the seabed. Spain considered building a concrete tomb around the wreck but finally opted to suck out the 13,000 tons that remained. The other 64,000 tons have been painstakingly scooped out of the sea and cleaned off Galicia's rocky beaches.

Environmental groups complain it could take a decade for the eco-system to recover. De la Vega said scientists would continue to investigate and work on damage to algae and the seabed. "

From Yahoo News

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