Russian oil slick expected to hit Irish/Welsh coastline
The Irish Department of TransportAt this point it is too early to accurately predict what volumes may come ashore and therefore what environmental, commercial and visual impact is involved.
The UK coastguard have said that a Russian refuelling accident at the weekend that caused oil to hit the ocean is expected to hit the Irish and Welsh coastline within a couple of weeks.
Reports just before 8pm BST was that the oil has split into three separate slicks and was currently 39 miles (63 km) off Ireland's southwestern coast and may hit land in 16 days time.
The Irish Department of Transport (IDT) say they expect around 522 tonnes as the oil is starting to thin out, half of what the UK coastguard said they are expecting.
The IDT said: "At this point it is too early to accurately predict what volumes may come ashore and therefore what environmental, commercial and visual impact is involved."
The spill occurred on Saturday when two Russian vessels were attempting to transfer fuel from one to the other 80km (50 miles) south of Fastnet. The oil then spread over an area measuring 4.5km by 5km.
The Irish and the UK have already sent aircraft and a naval vessels to monitor the spill.
Vessels on the scene monitoring the spill so far are two refuelling tankers, one aircraft carrier, one Russian ocean-going tug, one Russian destroyer, one British destroyer and Irish Naval vessel Aisling.
The Russians have tried to play down the amount of oil leaked.
Head of the Russian chief of staff Nikolai Makarov confirmed that a group of Russian warships had been refuelling in the area.
He said: "In this area a group of warships carried out refuelling but according to the commander of the group Admiral Korolev the refuelling proceeded normally and no significant outflow of fuel took place."
News sources used:
Ireland.com (Irish Times story) - Link
Reuters - Link
AFP - link
BBC - link