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Battle to halt giant slick; Fear after oil tanker hits rocks.

Experts were last night battling to prevent an environmental disaster after an oil tanker was holed.

More than A MILLION gallons have spilled from the Sea Empress, which hit rocks as a harbour pilot guided it into port.

Emergency teams threw a boom around the 140,000-tonne Russian-crewed tanker to try to contain the oil.

They managed to float the ship off the rocks, near Milford Haven, on the Welsh coast.

But storms were forecast and it's feared the tanker, which is managed by Glasgow-based Acomarit UK Ltd, could be thrown back on to them.

The ship was on the last leg of its journey from Grangemouth, in the Firth of Forth, when disaster struck.

Much of the oil was being washed up on the scenic Pembrokeshire coast, raising fears for the safety of wildlife.

Divers checked the damage and aircraft monitored the slick.

The drama has re-opened the safety debate, which started after the Braer hit rocks on Shetland in January 1993.

Rules brought in two years ago require that new tankers should be double-hulled to make spills less likely but any built before 1993 are exempt.

As a probe was launched into the disaster involving the single-hulled Sea Empress, MPs demanded legislation to ensure ALL tankers using UK waters are double-skinned.
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Author:Young, Sydney; Gysin, Christian
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 17, 1996
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