White Sea oil spill nearing Russian Arctic wildlife preserve
May 12, 2011, 12:33 GMT
Moscow - An oil spill in the White Sea is nearing a Russian wildlife preserve in a sensitive Arctic wetland, an environmental group said on Thursday.
The main spill patch is between 2 and 5 millimetres thick, covers an area of about 20,000 square metres and is less than 2 kilometres from the Kandalaksha Nature Preserve, according to a statement from Bellona, a environmental group based in the northern city Murmansk.
The oil was washed into the White Sea after spring flooding hit an oil terminal in the port of Vitino, near the city of Kandalashka, Interfax reported.
If the spill reaches the nature preserve, it could damage or even wipe out populations of loons, eider ducks, clams and crayfish, Bellona said.
A Russian government statement said local authorities and management from the oil terminal were taking steps to limit the spill.
The Kandalaksha Nature Preserve is one of Russia's oldest wildlife protection reserves. It contains hundreds of islands, and its marshes are home to tens of thousands of waterfowl during summer months.
Russia's Barents and White Sea shorelines have seen intensified development in recent years because of big oil and gas reserves in the northern Timan-Pechora regions.
The Vitino terminal was completed in 2005.
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