The oil slick from the grounded Icelandic “Godafoss” container ship lying in Ytre Hvaler has reached land, but local wildlife may have had a lucky escape.
According to the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA), observations from land, sea and air show only small amounts of oil are visible on the surface, and the slick has only come ashore in two places.
The authority says there is no need for emergency action, and it seems as though no more oil is leaking out.
“God has been with us,” Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, and Erik Solheim, Minister of the Environment told NTB, after their visit to the archipelago earlier today.
There were fears the slick from the stricken vessel that ran aground last night would cause an environmental catastrophe.
How the accident could have happened in relatively calm seas was uncertain at first, but Frederikstad police say the captain has since admitted he made a navigation error.
It is unclear how much of the vessel’s heavy oil cargo of 500 tonnes has been dispersed. The NCA says the oil’s low temperature means it is too thick to measure with onsite equipment.
Ytre Hvaler National Park is Norway’s only marine life preservation area, with a rich underwater ecosystem containing corals and kelp forest, as well as land areas with a varied plant and animal life.
Rescue authorities and the Norwegian and Swedish Coastguards worked all of Thursday night to try to limit the slick, and have since placed booms around the ship. The 165 metre-long and 28 metre-wide vessel ran aground about 100 metres from land.
A salvage firm is at the scene, and is expected to come with an emergency plan of action to offload the rest of the oil.
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