Belgian coast hit by oil slick

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The Independent Online

Oil from the sunken cargo ship Tricolor is washing ashore along the Belgian coast, damaging wildlife and beaches, officials said yesterday. Firefighters and volunteers had to remove small clots of oil and damaged birds near the ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge.

Oil from the sunken cargo ship Tricolor is washing ashore along the Belgian coast, damaging wildlife and beaches, officials said yesterday. Firefighters and volunteers had to remove small clots of oil and damaged birds near the ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge.

Clean-up crews were also placing floating booms around nature reserves on the 40-mile coast to limit environmental damage.

Officials feared continuing storms would push Tricolor's oil into a coastal wildlife preserve north-east of Zeebrugge. Ten tons of fuel oil from the ship, which sank on 14 December, have formed a slick 2.5 miles long and 480ft (145 metres) wide.

Over the past week, more than 1,000 birds were found dead or damaged by the oil, with many more having died at sea, environmental protection officials said.

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