Oil spill threatens Pakistan coast again

Pakistani authorities on Sunday frantically attempted to empty a grounded oil tanker that is close to breaking up and spilling more crude near the coast.

    Cleaning up the coast will be a tough challenge for Pakistan

    Authorities fear the grounded Greek tanker Tasman Spirit, could spill 5500 tonnes of crude it still has on board if its rear section breaks under the impact of rough seas.

    "The ship has tilted to 18 degrees from 13 degrees on Saturday, because of the high tide. It is a very dangerous posture. At 20-plus degrees, the ship can break up," Brigadier Iftikhar Arshad, a senior official of the Karachi Port Trust said.

    Carrying 67,500 tonnes of crude oil, Tasman Spirit had run aground on 27 July and spilled 25,000 tonnes of oil into the Arabian Sea, polluting the coastline and killing marine life.

    Brigadier Arshad said chances of a further oil spill had increased, but authorities were trying to empty the ship "as soon as possible".

    "It is a very dangerous posture. At 20-plus degrees, the ship can break up"

    Karachi Port Trust Official

    "We will hopefully complete the drainage operation by Monday but the operation is becoming dangerous with the passage of time," he said.

    The oil spilled by the tanker has badly polluted a 16-km stretch of Karachi's eastern coastline.

    Sea Angle, a small salvage tanker that arrived from the United Arab Emirates, is spearheading the delicate draining operation.

    Environmentalists and doctors are already complaining of increased ailments such as headaches and nausea among residents of Karachi's beachside neighbourhoods.

    With dead fish, turtles and sea snakes littering Karachi's coast covered by thick layers of crude oil, environmentalists say the damage caused by the spill has been huge.

    They say it could take months to clean and restore the coastline.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.