Oil spill cleanup ongoing in Sweden after freighter runs aground

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Thousands of liters of oil have spilled from the Makassar Highway, in southeast Sweden. (Swedish Coast Guard)
More than a hundred people are now working to clean up an oil spill in the Tjust archipelago, in the southeast of Sweden, after the freighter Makassar Highway ran aground outside of Loftahammar over a week ago.

Since then, it has leaked an estimated 14,000 liters of oil and authorities believe it has washed ashore on a total of between 10 and 12 islands or skerries.

Damage worse than expected

The damage to the bottom of the freighter and to its tanks is worse than first feared, and the Coast Guard says that it’s a very slow process to prepare the freighter to be towed to Oskarshamn for repair, because they have to make sure it won’t leak along the way. But in the best case, they might manage today. The Coast Guard will hold a news conference at 1pm with an update on the situation.

At a press conference yesterday, they said that about half of the oil had been removed from the water.

The public is warned to avoid contact with oil in both the water and on land, and to move to another area if the smell is bothersome.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Rapid climate change requires stepped up Arctic coast guard co-operation: Canadian expert, Radio Canada International

Finland: Finland prepares for ‘nightmare’ wintertime Baltic oil spill, Radio Canada International

Greenland: Arctic seas – little ability to cope with an oil spill, Radio Canada International

Norway: Norway grants drilling rights closer to protected Arctic waters, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Powerful LNG tankers head for China through thick Arctic ice, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: World maritime body approves first Arctic ship routing measures, Radio Canada International

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