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Saturday, 17 February, 2001, 23:23 GMT
Oil spill clear-up in Brazil
Oil spill in southern Brazil July 2000
Oil spills, like this one last July, are fairly common
By Tom Gibb in Sao Paulo

Two hundred people are working to clean up a spill of diesel oil which has hit a natural reserve on Brazil's Atlantic coast.

The leak took place from an oil duct near the city of Curativa about 300km (200 miles) south of Sao Paulo.

Man fishing, Brazil
Large numbers of fish are thought to be dead
The state oil company, Petrobras, said 1,200 litres (320 gallons) of diesel leaked on Friday and has now formed a slick along the coastline in the Bay of Parana.

Although Petrobras officials say the leak was relatively small, the lightweight fuel has formed a slick stretching 12km (seven miles) along the coastline of the bay of Parana.

Regular spills

The clean-up team is working to stop the oil going up rivers and onto the shore. The oil has hit a reserve of the Mata Atlantica, the forest which used to cover much of Brazil's coast but which has now been largely destroyed.

Local news reports said the oil had killed large number of fish.

Petrobras officials said it would take four or five days to clean it up, then there would be an investigation which could take several weeks to determine the cause of the leak as well as long term damage.

This is just the latest in a series of oil spills by Petrobras.

The company said it was planning to spend more than $1bn over the next three years to try to prevent future spills.

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23 Jan 01 | Americas
Spotlight on oil transport risks
23 Jan 01 | Americas
Q&A: Galapagos clean-up
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