Fishing, hunting losses from Black Sea oil spill over $160 mln

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Fishing and hunting losses from a fuel oil spill in a strait between the Black and Azov seas are estimated at over $160 million, the Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on Monday.
MOSCOW, November 19 (RIA Novosti) - Fishing and hunting losses from a fuel oil spill in a strait between the Black and Azov seas are estimated at over $160 million, the Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on Monday.

At least 2,000 metric tons of fuel spilled into the Kerch Strait when a tanker split open and four freighters sank in a storm on November 11. At least six sailors died, and the bodies of five more have yet to be found.

"Preliminary damage to fish stock amounts to 3.96 billion rubles [some $162 million]," the agency said in a statement, adding that hunting losses would amount to 6.084 million rubles (about $250,000).

Earlier reports said some 30,000 birds had died as a result of the fuel oil slick. Tests of water samples showed that contamination by oil products was 2.5 milligrams per liter, some 50 times above acceptable levels.

Alexander Davydenko, the head of the Federal Agency for Sea and Inland Water Transportation, said on Monday that a temporary sailing ban had been introduced on vessels more than 25 years old.

He said the measure had been introduced due to the incident in the Kerch Strait, and that all vessels would be now inspected to find out if they met safety standards.

The four dry-cargo vessels that sank during the storm had about 7,000 metric tons of sulfur on board, the press service for the Ukrainian Environmental Protection Ministry said. Although the chemical was in containers, the ministry said that sulfur was currently leaking from one of the vessels.

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