Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Thursday, 24 December 2009

Oil is removed from Vale quarry


Oil is removed from Torrey Canyon

Oil from a tanker that sank in the 1960s is being removed from a Guernsey quarry by the States.

In October campaigners criticised the lack of action over the oil-filled quarry in the Vale.

The oil washed ashore in 1967 when the supertanker Torrey Canyon struck a reef and ripped her hull open and the States decided to put the oil in the quarry.

Various attempts have been made to remove the oil from the Torrey Canyon quarry since the 1980s.

The Public Services Department is "skimming" the oil from the surface of the water-filled quarry, alongside a process of bioremediation in which the oil is turned into carbon dioxide and water.

Rob Roussel, senior project manager, said: "This method of skimming is a proven method that we know will clear the surface.

"The bioremediation process has already proved very effective so we're confident this will clear what is there at the moment.

Bombing attempt

"The problem is the oil in the base of the quarry and that being dealt with."

The Torrey Canyon struck Pollard's Rock in the Seven Stones reef, between the Cornish mainland and the Scilly Isles, on 18 March 1967.

After unsuccessful attempts were made to float the ship the RAF and the Royal Navy bombed it in an attempt to sink it, burn off the slick and reduce the oil spilling from it.

After two days of bombing it broke apart and sank while the oil slick was dispersed by the weather.

It was capable of carrying a cargo of 120,000 tons of crude oil.

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