Environment: Counting cost of tanker disaster

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The short-term environmental impact of the Sea Empress disaster in Wales was considerable and could have been even worse, according to a report yesterday from the committee set up by the Government to assess the damage.

At least 5,000 birds died, including a quarter of an 8,000-strong flock of sea ducks, in the disaster a year ago this week. Some 200 km of coastline were affected by Britain's third largest maritime oil spillage, after the Torrey Canyon in 1967 and the Braer four years ago. It is now estimated that more than 3,000 tonnes of crude oil was washed up on beaches.