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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 September, 2003, 06:09 GMT 07:09 UK
Pakistan seeks oil spill damages

Salvage vessels and MT Tasman Spirit
The salvage operation took more than two weeks
Pakistan is demanding $1bn in compensation from the owners of a stricken Greek-registered tanker, after a massive oil spill.

The authorities will also fine the owners to help pay for the clean-up, Pakistani Communication Minister Ahmed Ali said on Monday.

"Some 28,000 tons of crude oil spilled in our sea polluting our port, outer port and beaches," Mr Ali said.

The Tasman Spirit contained 67,000 tonnes of oil when it ran aground at low tide close to Karachi on 28 July.

We do not see the fear of any more leakage
Ahmed Ali
Communications Minister
On Monday, the authorities also announced that a salvage team had drained all the crude left in the vessel.

About 37,500 tonnes have been emptied in a 15-day operation.

"We do not see the fear of any more leakage," Mr Ali said.

Bad weather

The stricken tanker had continued to spew oil into the sea throughout the salvage operation.

Adverse weather conditions also slowed down efforts to siphon off the oil.

A 15-kilometre (nine-mile) stretch of beach remains smothered in oil, and provincial Environment Minister, Faisal Malik told the BBC that the clean-up could take three years or more.

Many local people have been complaining of nausea, headaches and other adverse reactions to the oil.

Sea life has also been badly affected by the spill, with the oil-sodden carcasses of marine animals washing up on Karachi's shores.

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13 Aug 03  |  South Asia

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