Page last updated at 19:07 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 20:07 UK

Alert after naval base oil leak

HMNB Clyde
The oil leaked at HM Naval Base Clyde

A potentially large oil spill has been contained at the Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde, the MoD has said.

About 100,000 litres leaked out of pipes into concrete ducts during a fuel transfer at the base, near Helensburgh.

Warning alarms sounded at the same time as staff noticed the speed the storage tanks were filling was not as fast as it should be, at around 1140 BST.

The diesel fuel was being transferred from the Garelochhead Oil Fuel Depot to storage tanks on the Faslane base.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "Staff checking the tanks noticed that they were not filling up as quickly as they should and at the same time alarms in the concrete ducts which hold the oil pipes were activated.

Protective booms

"Spillage teams from the naval base and from the oil fuel depot investigated immediately and the oil transfer was halted.

"A small leak from a manhole cover was discovered and recovery tankers were called in by road to vacuum up the rest of the spillage, which was contained in access ducts in which the pipes are housed."

He added: "As far as we are aware there is no environmental impact from the spillage."

Most of oil has now been recovered, with about 150 litres thought to have leaked into the Gareloch and evaporated.

The spokesman said: "A very small level of fuel reached the Gareloch but this was so small that there was no need to deploy any protective booms. The light oil that did reach the water has already broken up and dispersed naturally via wave motion."

Captain Peter Merriman, Deputy Naval Base Commander, said: "We have taken the step of informing the local community and other stakeholders in this incident in order to provide clear factual information about what did and did not happen - speculation that a large amount of fuel oil had entered the Gareloch would be both inaccurate and unhelpful, for example."

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency was contacted and launched an investigation along with the Ministry of Defence.

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