Some neighboring countries offered to help Tunisia Tunisia’s Defense Ministry said it was preventing harm to the environment after a merchant ship carrying up to 1,000 tons of fuel sank off the country’s coast.
The ship, which was traveling from Equatorial Guinea to Malta, requested entry into Tunisian waters on Friday evening due to bad weather. It sank near Gabes and the Tunisian navy rescued all seven crew members. After being hospitalized, all seven were taken to a hotel.
The Xelo carried between 750 and 1,000 tons of fuel. The tanker was 58 meters long and nine meters wide, according to ship monitoring website Vesseltracker.com.
In a statement sent to Reuters, the Defense Ministry said that in order to control environmental damage, the Tunisian navy will work with countries that have expressed a desire to help. Saturday’s reports said there had been no leaks at that point.
Local media said that Italy had offered to help and that it was expected to send a naval vessel specialized in dealing with marine disasters.
On Saturday, the Tunisian authorities opened an investigation into the sinking of the ship, which the Ministry of Environment said was caused by bad weather.
She said that barriers will be put in place to limit the spread of fuel and cordon off the ship before suctioning the spill.
The coast of the southern city of Gabes has suffered from significant pollution for years, with environmental organizations saying that industrial facilities in the area dump waste directly into the sea.
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