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Last Updated: Friday, 22 August, 2003, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Pollution fear for SA coast

Environmentalists have expressed fears of a potential pollution disaster following the spillage of oil from a container ship off the South African coast.

The vessel carrying 3,700 tons of fuel ran aground on Thursday on Table Bay near Cape Town.

South African press reports say the Sealand Express is also carrying 50 tons of uranium ore concentrate bound for the United States to be turned into nuclear fuel.

A nuclear engineer said the material was only mildly radioactive and that the oil posed a much bigger danger.

Rescuers from Smit Marine South Africa have been trying to pump out the oil.

According to South Africa's Independent newspaper, the pumping operation began in the early hours of Friday.

MV Jolly Rubino ran aground Thursday on reefs off the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St Lucia on South Africa's east coast in 2002
The Jolly Rubino ran aground almost a year ago
A spokesperson for the owners of the tanker, United States Ship Management, Evelyn Holtzhausen, was quoted as saying that by mid-morning an estimated 70 tons of oil had been successfully pumped to a tug.

Bad weather is threatening the pumping operation.

Almost one year ago, another container ship, the Jolly Rubino, ran aground near a nature reserve off the South African coast.

A major salvage operation was launched to try to prevent a pollution disaster as it was carrying oil and hazardous chemicals.

Race to pump oil off SA ship
30 Sep 02  |  Africa
Battle to contain SA slick
15 Sep 02  |  Africa

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