Gallery: Oil spill from WWII wreckage cleaned up in Narva Bay

Pollution from a wreck of a German warship is being cleaned up in Narva Bay, near the borough of Toila. As the spill is far enough offshore, it poses no threat to the coastline.

Pollution was discovered at Narva Bay on April 23 and samples taken indicated that a fuel mixture had been discharged into the sea. The source of the leak is the German torpedo boat T30, which sank in August 1944 together with its two companions, the T22 and the T32.

"It is possible that up to 370 tons of petroleum products - hydraulic oil, motor oil - is in the tanks down there. It's a dangerous set of oils that may rise up," Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) pollution response senior specialist Tauno Mettis told ERR's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

Investigating the wreckage, situated six nautical miles or some 11 kilometers from the coast, was made difficult by it being surrounded by explosives and the visibility being extremely low on the seabed, which is why the start of rescue operations was delayed.

"We had to be sure that if we dropped anchor; if the Maritime Administration's and Police and Boarder Guard Board's vessels moved in this area, nothing would happen to the ships and the people on it," Mettis said.

Mettis says it is not necessary to pump the fuel mixture out of the wreckage, as it would be very dangerous because of the explosives surrounding the wreck. Installing barrier and absorbent booms are enough to eradicate the spill, he added.

The precise reason why the leak started is not clear, but it might have been caused by the Estonian Navy's minehunter Admiral Cowan, which carried out regular training in Narva Bay during the first half of April.


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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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