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Spill threatens research.

Spill threatens research

Diesel fuel leaking from a wrecked Argentine ship threatens biological research at the U.S. Palmer Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula, says Ted DeLaca, head of the National Science Foundation's polar science section.

The 435-foot-long Bahia Paraiso started leaking fuel and partially sank after underwater rocks ripped a 30-foot-long gash in its hull on Jan. 29. Primarily a supply vessel for Argentine bases, the ship carried 81 tourists and had just finished a sightseeing visit to the U.S. station. It was within 1.5 miles of the science installation when it was abandoned by passengers and crew.

The fuel slick has spread throughout the water near the station and has started to harm area wildlife. Washing up on shore are thousands of krill, which form the basis of the local food web. Penguins and other birds have also died.

DeLaca says it is not yet possible to gauge the impact of the spill on the nearly pristine Antarctic environment. He adds that the spill may affect animal populations for many years and could taint the results of future studies there.
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Title Annotation:diesel fuel spill in Antarctica
Publication:Science News
Date:Feb 11, 1989
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