Home LATEST NEWS No leak found on the shipwrecked tanker near the Tunisian coast

No leak found on the shipwrecked tanker near the Tunisian coast


Divers inspected the ship’s hull on Sunday and found no leakage of its cargo of 750 tonnes of diesel, Tunisian authorities said.

According to the divers, the shipmeters deep, in a horizontal position and does not show any cracks”,”text”:”sunk nearly 20 meters deep, in a horizontal position and does not show any cracks”}}’>sank almost 20 meters deep, in a horizontal position and does not show any cracksreported in a press release the Tunisian Ministry of the Environment, adding thatno leak was observed on the diesel cargo.

The diving team was accompanied by the captain and the ship’s engineer, who know the configuration of the shipclarified to theFrance Media AgencyMohamed Karray, spokesperson for the Gabes prosecutor’s office, which opened an investigation into the causes of the accident.

The oil tanker Xelo, which left the port of Damietta in Egypt and was heading for Malta, sank on Saturday in Tunisian waters, where it had taken refuge the previous evening due to bad weather conditions.

Map of the Gulf of Gabès.

The tanker Xelo began to sink while it was some 7 kilometers from the Tunisian coast, in the Gulf of Gabes.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Datawrapper

The 58 meter long by 9 wide ship began to take on water in the engine room. The authorities then proceeded to evacuate the seven crew members, before the sinking of the Xelo at dawn.

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On a video from the Ministry of the Environment on Sunday, we only see the tip of a mast emerging from the waves. The zone, controlled by the army, is inaccessible to the press.

According to the Minister of Transport, Rabie el Majididuring the rescue, the rescuers made sure to close the holds to avoid diesel leaks and the divers found that they are intact.

The situation is not dangerous, the diagnosis is positive, the ship is stable, as it luckily sank on sandsaid the minister during a press briefing on Sunday in the port of Gabès, with his colleague from the Environment.

Floating anti-pollution booms have already been installed on a perimeter of 200 meters around the wreckage.

But the priority of the authorities remains the pumping of diesel.

It is very tricky for divers to locate exits [des cales] to do the pumping, explained to the press the Minister of Transport. However, he downplayed the scale of the risks, saying thattons of diesel is nothing at all”,”text”:”750tons of diesel is nothing at all”}}”>750 tons of diesel is nothing at all.

Authorities said they are studying the offers received to help them for pumping, also from abroad.

The Italian Ambassador [en Tunisie] Lorenzo Fanara was contacted this Sunday by the Tunisian authorities and the Italian government immediately decided to send a pollution control vessel and a team of specialized diversdiplomatic sources told AFP.

The ship will arrive in Tunisian waters on Mondaythey added.

Awaiting the pumping of the cargo, the conservation organization World Wildlife Fundwarned against a new environmental disaster in an area that is a fishing area for000 sailors”,”text”:”about 34000 sailors”}}’>approximately 34,000 sailors and has suffered from episodes of pollution, in particular due to the phosphate industries and the presence of an oil pipeline, in recent decades.

Tunisian officials are also interested in the course of the ship, built in 1977 and flying the flag of Equatorial Guinea, and its owners: a Turk and a Libyan, according to the Gabès prosecution.

The Ministry of Transport is trying to verify the exact nature of the vessel’s activity and its route over the past few weeks.

According to this ministry, the Xelo was stationed from April 4 to 8 in the Tunisian port of Sfax, north of Gabès, to change crew, refuel and make light repairs, without loading or unloading.

Local media have recalled the proximity of the Gulf of Gabès to Libya, a major oil-producing country, whose coasts have been the scene of hydrocarbon trafficking in recent years.

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