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Tanker, Ship Collide in Baltic Sea

March 29, 2001

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BERLIN (AP) _ An oil tanker collided with a freight ship off northwest Germany, spilling about 1,900 tons of oil into the Baltic Sea, authorities said Thursday.

The overnight crash happened in international waters about 15 miles northwest of the German coastal town of Darsser Ort. Television pictures showed a wide gash ripped into the side of the tanker.

Both the tanker, registered in the Marshall Islands, and the Cypriot sugar freighter remained afloat, and the leak from the tanker _ which was carrying 33,000 tons of oil _ was stemmed. The ship was not fully loaded.

The wind was blowing the spilled oil toward the Danish coast, said Falk Meier, the head of the German coast guard office in Stralsund. The winds were reaching speeds of about 43 miles per hour.

The Danish Navy said 1,900 tons of oil spilled into the Baltic and that the slick was drifting toward the Danish island of Moen _ south of Zealand, the island on which the capital, Copenhagen, is located

Four ships with oil containment equipment were heading for the area, plus two German and one Swedish coast guard vessels.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.

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