‘Disaster in Black Sea as storm sinks tanker’

14 11 2007

A storm struck 10 ships in the Strait of Kerch, which links the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, sinking a Russian oil tanker, the Volganeft-139 and causing widespread environmental damage in The Black Sea region. Although most of the crew were rescued, five seamen were killed and 18 are still missing. The Volganeft-139 split in two and spilled at least 1300 tonnes of oil into the water. The severe weather prevented emergency workers from collecting the oil, which authorities said was sinking to the seabed. Another storm in the area is forecast, prompting a ban on tankers docking at the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.

The environmental destruction has been severe. Birds covered in thick oil are being recovered on the shore and biodiversity is being reduced. Vladimir Chuprov, head of the energy department at Greenpeace, told the RIA Novosti news agency: “As a result of the oil spill into the sea, heavy elements of fuel oil will settle on the seabed and cause hydrocarbons to permeate the Sea of Azov. This will lead to a shortage of oxygen in the water, and the unique fauna will suffer greatly.”

Two of the other freighters that sank were carrying around 6500 tonnes of sulphur, the Russian emergency situations ministry said. Sergei Baranovsky, the president of the Green Cross environmental group, said sulphur could potentially be more hazardous to the environment than the oil.

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Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/nov/12/pollution.russia?gusrc=rss (Nov 12th 2007)





‘Welsh water company fined for polluting river’

24 10 2007

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, a water treatment plant in Wakes has been charged and fined after it was found to be responsible for pumping untreated sewage into the River Cynon, resulting in the death of over 1800 fish, mostly trout. The Environment Agency forced the company to bring in independent contractors to oversee the blocking of the sewage flow and the return of the river to acceptable safety standards. Claiming that the contamination was due to a technical fault in the plant, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water pleaded guilty in court to contaminating the river with raw sewage. They were found to have broken Section Four of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 and Section 85 of the Water Resources Act 1991 and were subsequently fined £10,000 and had to pay £4,420 in court costs. Joseph Barr, the Environment Agency Officer working on the case says that the fine will be used to restock the fish population and help minimise the environmental damage caused by the company. Barr also hopes that it will act as an example to others and ’will lead to improvements being made to prevent any further incidents of this nature’.
Unfortunately such incidents are common in Wales and elsewhere. In September 2003, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water were fined £12,500 for polluting the River Clyne and killing over 3000 fish, and in July 2007 they were fined yet again, this time for polluting a river near Wrexham.

http://www.water-guide.org.uk/blog-welsh-water-company-fined-for-polluting-river-82.html (2/10/07)