Swedish coast guard investigates when oil spill was reported

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Clean-up crews continue to remove oil floating ashore on the Swedish west coast from a collision between two vessels off the coast of Denmark two weeks ago. Photoby Erik Abel, Scanpix.The Swedish Coast Guard is trying to find out how and when the alarm from Denmark of the large oil spill following the collision of two vessels off the island of Tjörn in southwest Sweden two weeks ago, Swedish News Agency TT reports.

On September 10, a Maltese bulk carrier and a Belgian fishing boat collided off the coast of Denmark, near the province of Jutland, a peninsula that juts out of northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia.

Coast guard spokesperson Lotta Brandström told TT that the rescue agency is trying to ascertain where and from whom the first alarm was made. The large quantity of oil floating ashore on the Swedish west coast is assumed to come from the collision, and the coast guard has received criticism for not responding adequately.

Clean up work continues

So far the coast guard has removed 360 tons of oil from the Tjörn area. One ton equals about one cubic meter of oil, and the work will continue through the weekend.

“We have all possible resources working on this,” Kalle Isaksson, a coast guard press officer working in Gothenburg told TT.

He said 40 people and about 10 vessels are working near Tjörn pumping up oil or removing it with excavators. “In addition, there are at least 80 people from the Swedish National Home Guard (an Army unit made up of volunteers) and municipal safety workers helping out,” Isaksson said.

The Coast Guard also has 20 people and several ships in the water outside Strömstad, where oil was discovered, mostly on the island of Råssö.

TT writes that according to newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the Danish coast guard said it told Sweden and Norway of the oil spill on September 10, the day of the collision. The Swedish Coast Guard, however, said it was first informed on September 14, a day before it became clear oil was floating ashore on Tjörn and surrounding islands.

This is the worst oil spill on Swedish territory in 25 years.

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