Tanker Spills Oil Off Italy's West Coast

ROME, Italy, March 19, 2007 (ENS) - Oil that spilled from a tanker loaded with highly inflammable liquid styrene has washed up on Italy's west coast, the Italian Environment Ministry said today.

The Chemstar Eagle, a 19,362 ton Panamanian flagged vessel, ran into trouble in high winds and heavy seas off the port city of Livorno, where the vessel has been towed, the Coastguard said.

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View of the Tyrrhenian Sea from Mascagni Terrace where oil from the Chemstar Eagle has been seen. (Photo by Raffaella courtesy Virtual Tourist)
The ministry said the oil washed up near the Mascagni Terrace, a resort promenade featuring an aquarium which looks out over the Tyrrhenian Sea.

A helicopter reconaissance flight was launched today to monitor the extent of the oil spill, the ministry said. None of the 4,750 tons of styrene aboard the tanker appears to have been spilled, officials said.

Meanwhile, the ministry of marine protection has sent for an urgent shipment of oil spill control material from Genoa to manage the spill.

Built in the year 2000, the Chemstar Eagle is owned by Fairfield Chemical Carriers, based in the United States, Belgium and Singapore.

The Environment Ministry says Castalia, a private consortium specializing in cleanup of vessel pollution, is on the job.

It is not immediately clear how much environmental damage has been caused by the spill.