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Saturday, October 2, 1999 Published at 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK


Iceberg threat to shipping

The iceberg is estimated to be 20 times larger than Manhatten

A massive iceberg that has been floating freely since it broke away from Antarctica in 1992 could now be a threat to shipping off the southern tip of South America.

The BBC's Khalid Javed: "The iceberg is floating out of control"
Scientists also believe that this break up of Antarctic ice represents further evidence of global warming.

The iceberg measures about 50 miles by 17 miles and is curently about 300 miles from the southern tip of South America - closing in on major shipping lanes.

[ image: The Chilean Navy is worried by its progress]
The Chilean Navy is worried by its progress
The hazard, known as B-10A, is being monitored to see if it will follow a route to the Pacific or the Atlantic ocean.

It is the largest of two icebergs that broke off from a much larger block in 1992.

Scientists say the detachment of ice is a warning that precautions must be taken against global warming.

A spokesman for Chile's Antartic Scientific Institute, Daniel Torres Navarro, said global warming was no doubt contributing "to the disintegration of the ice".

"We're not being alarmist - these are symptoms the environment is displaying to tell us something is happening here," he said.

The iceberg is on an erratic course, travelling at speeds of between eight and10 miles a day.

Chile's Navy has been tracking the ice mass through frequent flights over the ocean, since they fear it will collide with the Argentinian island of Tierra del Fuego.

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