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Tuesday, February 11, 2003

A Chinese tanker collided with a Cambodian cargo vessel near Shanghai yesterday and spilled about 20 tonnes of oil at the mouth of the Yangtze River. The spill has been contained and a rapid clean-up effort has been largely successful, according to a spokeswoman for the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration.

Meanwhile, 300 oil-stricken seabirds have been brought to the UK from Belgium for treatment. The birds, mostly guillemots, are among 7,000 picked up by volunteers along the Belgian coast over the last three weeks. They're thought to have been caught in an oil slick stemming from the sunken car-carrier Tricolor, which was hit by a salvage tug three weeks ago (the third boat to hit the ship since it sank in December!).

The birds will be treated in an RSPCA centre in Norfolk, as rescue centres in Belgium are struggling to cope with the casualties. RSPCA vet Ian Robinson said : "We treat thousands of oiled birds every year but the last few months has seen spill after spill. It is about time something was done to prevent oil spills devastating our marine environment and its wildlife."