By Teide Emomotimi
A tanker carrying 750 tonnes of diesel sank off Tunisia’s east coast on Friday.
The incident occurred in the early hours of Friday where the cliques of the Xelo vessel sought security in Tunisian waters in the Gulf of Gabes.
The officials and the Environment Minister travelled to the port of Gabes to help oversee the response, where the Equatorial Guinea-flagged Xelo was headed from the Egyptian port of Damietta to Malta. Authorities believe a large spill would likely be steer clear of.
“This is a cargo of diesel oil, Environment Minister Leila Chikhaoui told the media. It is very different from fuel oil, fuel oil is much less dangerous and tends to evaporate fairly quickly. Considering the waterproofness of the hull, we think the hull is still watertight and there is no leakage at the moment. We are waiting for the weather to be better, especially in terms of wind and escalation, to allow the divers to verify with more certainty the state of the hull and the state of the cargo and to proceed, of course, with the necessary measures such as pumping or bringing the ship closer to the coast in order to secure both the cargo, the engine oils and everything that will be keep to.”
“If the seven-member clique has been rescued, the weather was still too poor to start maritime manoeuvres on Saturday.
The Tunisia branch of the World Wildlife Fund said it frightened a “new environmental catastrophe in the region”, as the district court in Gabes opened an investigation into the misfortune.