A tanker carrying 750 tons of diesel gas from Egypt to Malta sank on Saturday within the Gulf of Gabes off Tunisia’s southeast coast, sparking a rush to keep away from a spill.
“The ship sank this morning in Tunisian territorial waters. For the second, there isn’t a leak,” native court docket spokesperson Mohamed Karray stated.
A catastrophe prevention committee would meet within the coming hours “to determine on the measures to be taken”, he added.
The Equatorial Guinea-flagged Xelo was headed from the Egyptian port of Damietta to the European island of Malta when it requested entry to Tunisian waters on Friday night attributable to dangerous climate.
The tanker is 58 metres lengthy and 9 metres broad, in line with ship monitoring web site vesseltracker.com.
It started taking water round seven kilometres offshore within the Gulf of Gabes and the engine room was engulfed, in line with a Tunisian setting ministry assertion.
It stated Tunisian authorities evacuated the seven-member crew.
Surroundings Minister Leila Chikhaoui was travelling to Gabes “to judge the scenario… and to take needed preventive choices in coordination with the regional authorities”, a ministry assertion stated.
Authorities have activated “the nationwide emergency plan for the prevention of marine air pollution with the purpose of bringing the scenario beneath management and avoiding the unfold of pollution”.
Courtroom spokesperson Karray stated the Georgian captain, 4 Turks and two Azerbaijanis had been briefly hospitalised for checks and had been now in a lodge.
The defence, inside, transport and customs ministries had been working to keep away from “a marine environmental catastrophe within the area and restrict its affect”, the setting ministry stated.
Earlier than the ship sank, the ministry had described the scenario as “alarming” however “beneath management”.
The Gulf of Gabes was historically a fishing space however activists say it has suffered from air pollution attributable to phosphate processing industries based mostly close to the town of Gabes.
The final maritime accident involving the nation was in October 2018, when Tunisian freighter Ulysse slammed into the Cyprus-based Virginia anchored about 30 kilometres off the northern tip of the French island of Corsica, sending lots of of tons of gas spilling into the Mediterranean.
It took a number of days of maritime manoeuvres to disentangle the boats and pump some 520 cubic metres of propulsion gas, which had escaped tanks.