BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
LANGUAGES
Urdu
Hindi
Bengali
Pashto
Nepali
Tamil
Sinhala
Last Updated: Saturday, 30 August, 2003, 22:18 GMT 23:18 UK
Karachi oil spill critical
The oil damaged Clifton Beach in Karachi
Karachi's beaches have been destroyed
Pakistani authorities are struggling to empty a Greek oil tanker grounded outside Karachi before it breaks up even further.

The tanker has already leaked more than 25,000 tonnes of oil into the Arabian Sea, polluting Karachi's coastline and killing marine life.

Some 37,000 tonnes of crude have been drained from the tanker - the Tasman Spirit - which has been stranded in the country's main port since 27 July.

If that rear portion breaks, the bulk of the remaining oil will also spill. We are fighting against time to empty the ship before that happens
Karachi port official

But there are fears the rear section could break in two as cracks have developed in the hull.

"If that rear portion breaks, the bulk of the remaining oil will also spill. We are fighting against time to empty the ship before that happens," a Karachi port official said.

Residents near the beach and adjacent islands have complained of headaches, nausea and respiratory problems, doctors say, while many Karachi restaurants have stopped serving seafood.

Dead turtles

The Tasman Spirit was carrying around 67,500 tonnes of crude when it ran aground in bad weather and a high monsoon tide. It later split in two.

A small salvage tanker sent by the United Arab Emirates has arrived to help with the delicate draining operation.

Environmentalists say it will take months to clean and restore Karachi's beaches which are now covered with a thick layer of black crude and littered with dead fish, turtles and sea snakes.

The Greek and Filipino nationals sailing the stricken tanker have been interrogated by the authorities.


SEE ALSO:
Pakistan fines oil tanker owners
16 Aug 03  |  South Asia
Disaster on Karachi's coastline
15 Aug 03  |  South Asia
Karachi oil tanker breaks up
14 Aug 03  |  South Asia
Oil 'emergency' off Karachi coast
13 Aug 03  |  South Asia
Comparing the worst oil spills
19 Nov 02  |  Europe


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific