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The Scale of Marine Pollution from the Strait of Kerch Catastrophe is Growing


The scale of pollution in the sea as a result of the sinking of tankers and freight ships carrying sulfur in the Strait of Kerch is growing. The pollution has spread to the northern side of the Taman Peninsula on the coast of the Azov Sea. Today, Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus received information that oil pollution has traveled as far as the village of Kuchugury. Aleksandr Komlevoi, a representative of the NGO “Saving Taman!”, was there today. The seashore at Kuchugury is severely polluted with lumps of congealed fuel oil. The sea was continuously dumping new pieces of fuel oil onto the shore and the air was filled with the persistent smell of oil. Approximately a dozen people were conducting cleanup activities.

In addition, we have received information that the fuel oil spill was much larger than was officially announced. Research into the wrecked tanker, “Volganeft-139”, showed that fuel oil spilled from four out of eight tanks. The second, third, fifth and sixth tanks were empty. Thus, at least half of the 4.77 thousand tons of fuel oil on board spilled into the sea. It is also important to consider the serious spill of fuel from the three freight ships loaded with sulfur (Volnogorsk, Kovel, and Nakhichevan), which sunk off the southern edge of the Tuzla Spit. This pollution may spread across the entire southern shore of the Taman Peninsula and reach Anapa Resort.

Samples of sea water that were taken yesterday at the Kuban Estuary Station on Chushka Spit between the Port Kavkaz and the Ulyich Village demonstrated that Maximum Permissible Concentrations for petroleum products in sea water were exceeded fifty times.

Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus
Information Distribution
November 15, 2007

Translated by Crude Accountability