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Two merchant ships collided on Sunday off the coast of northern Corsica, in waters of French responsibility, causing a fuel spill that according to France is controlled. The collision occurred between the transport of cargo rolled ‘Ulysses’, Tunisian flag, and container ship’ Virginia ‘, Cypriot flag’.
The collision caused the spill of some 600 cubic meters of fuel, but the French Minister of Ecology, François de Rugy, said on Monday that the services of his country, in cooperation with the Italians, are under control of the oil slick. “The leak is controlled,” the minister told the chain “BFMTV” while explaining that the spot, about 20 square kilometres, was caused by fuel that escaped from one of the deposits of the Cypriot container ship that collided with a Tunisian ferry first thing yesterday morning.
De Rugy, who moved to Corsica to oversee the cleanup, said the French services managed to concentrate the fuel slick, which had begun to expand due to the wind and were starting to pump it to prevent its dispersion, which threatens to contaminate the coasts.
France counts for these works with the help of Italian media, based on a joint agreement to fight against pollution also signed by Monaco. The fuel slick is located about 30 kilometres north of the Mediterranean island.
The reasons for the collision, in which there were no casualties and that occurred in the midst of good navigation conditions, with a wind of just 7 knots, about 13 kilometres per hour, are unknown. The Ulysse, a Tunisian ferry that had left the Italian city of Genoa in the direction of their country, collided with the CLS Virginia, a Cypriot container ship that was anchored 28 kilometres northwest of Corsica.
The crash caused a waterway in one of the Cypriot ship’s fuel tanks, which allowed fuel to escape. The French Maritime Gendarmerie has opened an investigation to determine the causes of the accident.