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Oil spill to be cleared from Kerch Strait coastline in 4 days

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MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti) - The operation to clear up the oil spill from the coastline of the Kerch Strait between the Black and Azov seas will be completed in four days, the Russian transportation ministry said on Friday.

A tanker split open spilling some 2,000 metric tons of fuel oil into the Kerch Strait and four freighters sank in a storm on November 11.

The ministry said more than 1,000 people were involved in the disaster relief operation, and that the tanker would be raised from the sea by November 26.

An interdepartmental committee for the emergency relief operation held a second meeting on Friday, the ministry said.

Timur Khikmatov, the ministry spokesman, said the pontoons necessary to raise the vessel had arrived and were being prepared for work. He also said water was being pumped out of the tanker's bow.

"The bow is being raised and this will allow us to put pontoons beneath it," Khikmatov said adding the tanker lift was scheduled for November 24.

The transportation ministry said in a press release that the Russian state maritime rescue service and the Russian Navy were responsible for coordinating the raising of the Volgoneft-139.

A deadline of November 26 has been set as according to weather forecasts the current calm weather is expected to change November 27.

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