Kopli Bay oil slick largely dissipated, potential source found

Marine pollution was reported in Tallinn's Kopli Bay on Tuesday.
Marine pollution was reported in Tallinn's Kopli Bay on Tuesday. Source: PPA

Seawater pollution just off Tallinn had dissipated as of Wednesday lunchtime. A possible source of the thin layer of oil detected in Kopli Bay Tuesday has been identified.

Marge Kohtla head of the Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) maritime security group, told BNS that: "Yesterday, we also identified the possible source of the pollution, and the Environmental Board is working to establish the exact circumstances."

Tarmo Tehva, head of the board's oversight  department at its Harju County office said that the pollution: "Samples are going to the laboratory; we are waiting for their results. It also needs to be found out still how much oil spilled into the sea."

One possible source was a dredging vessel performing work at the Bekkeri harbor on the western shore of the Kopli peninsula, which had sprang a hydraulics leak, he said.

"It is now known that one of the vessels that performed dredging at Bekkeri Harbor had problems with hydraulics, and the initial picture that we saw at sea suggests that it was a leakage of hydraulic oil. The leak was sealed as soon as it was discovered and the suspect ship will undergo repairs," Tehva went on.

The slick had not caused any significant environmental damage so far, he added. "We are not currently aware of any birds or marine animals getting soiled by the oil or of any pollution reaching the shore. The Environmental Board has opened a misdemeanor procedure to clarify the causes of the pollution and the amount of oil spilled."

A 10 a.m. Wednesday observation flight over Kopli Bay established that the pollution slick, which was a thin layer on the surface of the water, had almost completely dissipated.

A small patch still remained in the middle of the bay, BNS reports, but that was also dissipating.

The PPA's anti-pollution vessel the Raju ended its initial pollution control operations at around 10:30 p.m. on the Tuesday, Marge Kohtla says, while the authority's M-15 motorboat took over on the Wednesday morning.

Some of the more concentrated pollution zones could be cleared using absorbent booms, she added.

As of Tuesday evening, inspectors from the Environmental Board had taken samples from both the spill and a vessel they are viewing as the potential source.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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