Estonian Oil Tanker Grounded in Strong Wind
Jan. 18, 1993
TALLINN, Estonia (AP) _ An oil tanker has leaked thousands of gallons of oil after running aground off the Estonian coast and was in danger of breaking apart in rough seas, officials said today.
The Estonian tanker Kihnu was carrying 294,000 gallons of crude oil and 126,000 gallons of light fuel oil when it went aground late Saturday in the Gulf of Finland near Tallinn, said Kalle Pedak, deputy director the Estonian Marine Board.
One Estonian ship managed to attach a line to the tanker today in an attempt to hold it in place, said Mati Raidma, deputy director of the Estonian Rescue Board. If the tanker remains intact, officials hope to tow it to a nearby shipyard.
But 60 mph winds forced rescuers to abandon efforts to remove the tankers' nine-man crew, Peda said. Estonia dispatched four boats to keep the oil from spreading, Pedak said. They were expected to lay down oil booms, but it was unclear if that would be effective in the rough seas.
Several trucks stood by to clean up any oil that washed ashore.
The tanker will probably be torn apart in the rough seas, Raidma told the Baltic News Service.
''This would be the worst oil catastrophe in Estonian history if this happens,'' he said. He said the tanker had already spilled up to 11,760 gallons of oil.
The 200-foot-long tanker hit rocks just a few hundred yards offshore as it carried oil from one terminal near Tallinn to another a few miles away, Raidma said.
Finland sent one ship to help and offered to send a helicopter to rescue the tanker's crew, said Hannu Ayravainen, commander of the Gulf of Finland coast guard in Helsinki.
Saturday's accident happened 11 days after an oil tanker ran aground off the Shetland Islands and spilled 24 million gallons of oil into the North Sea.