Burning tanker adrift off Indonesia

SINGAPORE (AP) - Six salvage tugs were heading towards a fully laden supertanker ablaze and adrift after a collision off the northern tip of Indonesia yesterday. At least some oil was spilled and burning. Anti-pollution specialists in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore were monitoring the drifting ship.

'Our prime concern now is the crude oil . . . and if there is spillage and the spill reaches Malaysian waters, we can expect a disaster,' the Science, Technology and Environment Minister, Law Hieng Ding, said in Kuala Lumpur. Agents for the 260,000-ton Maersk Navigator said it was abandoned by its crew of 24 after colliding with the Sanko Honour, an empty 47,344-ton tanker.

The Maersk Navigator was carrying 1.865 million barrels (about 78 million gallons) of crude oil to Japan from Oman, a spokesman for General Sekiyu, owner of part of the oil, said in Tokyo.

'Some oil has spilled into the sea and is on fire,' said a statement by the Singapore office of A P Moller Co of Copenhagen, the Maersk Navigator's owners. 'The extent of hull damage to the tanker and possible pollution have yet to be clarified.'

Leading article, page 18

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