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Beached ship leaks fuel off France


High winds have beached a cargo ship off France's Atlantic coast and some of the 220 tons of fuel in its hold is leaking, threatening a local beach.

Officials in the Morbihan region said the ship's 19-man crew was evacuated by helicopter early today as their vessel ran aground 100 metres from shore.

The statement says the one-kilometre-long strip of fuel was heading to Erdeven beach in Brittany in north-western France.

Rescuers are pumping the fuel from the cargo hold of the Maltese flagged ship in a bid to empty it.

The French electric company says some 370,000 homes were without electricity as winds of up to 81 mph blew across France, triggering alerts in numerous regions.

People were warned to stay indoors.