Divers on Sunday investigated the hull of a ship carrying 750 tonnes of petroleum that sank off the coast of southeastern Tunisia, with no leaks found so far, officials said.
“With the improvement in weather conditions, a team of divers accompanied by the ship’s captain and engineer who know its layout are on site to examine the hull,” Mohamed Karray, spokesman for the court in Gabes city, which is investigating Saturday’s sinking, told newsmen.
The Equatorial Guinea-flagged Xelo was travelling from Egypt to Malta when it drowned.
Divers headed for the site in the Gulf of Gabes, which has been cordoned off by Tunisia’s military, were seen in images published by the environment and defence ministries getting into the water.
The vessel was said to be mostly submerged in images released by the Defence Ministry.
According to Tunisian authorities, the crew of the Xelo issued a distress call on Friday evening and sought cover in Tunisian seas from strong weather before sinking.
Environment Minister Leila Chikhaoui, who travelled to the port of Gabes on Saturday to help oversee the response, said the situation was “under control”.
“We think the hull is still watertight and there is no leakage for the moment,” she told newsmen.
Protective booms have been deployed around the wreck as a precaution to contain any oil slick.
The World Wildlife Fund’s Tunisia branch expressed worry over another incident.
According to ship tracking website vesseltracker.com, the tanker is 58 metres long and nine metres wide.
According to the environment ministry, it began taking on water roughly seven kilometres offshore in the Gulf of Gabes, and the engine room was inundated. The seven-member crew was rescued by Tunisian officials, who received first aid and were being lodged at a hotel, according to the Ministry.
Meanwhile, environmental organisations have noted that the Coast of Gabes has continued to suffer major environmental pollution due to industrial plants in the area constantly emptying waste right into the very sea of the incident.
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