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WORLD : Tanker Aground, Spills Oil in Rhine

<i> From Times wire services </i>

A tanker carrying 1,200 tons of fuel oil ran aground in the Rhine today, spilling an undetermined amount of its cargo and halting ship traffic.

The vessel, Rhinetank 24, struck a stone embankment near the city of Oppenheim, 25 miles southwest of Frankfurt, at 4 a.m.

Police spokesman Jochen Boehm confirmed that the ship sustained severe damage, and could break up.

Water protection authorities surrounded the vessel with oil containment booms and were transferring the cargo to another ship, Boehm said. River traffic was halted at Oppenheim to prevent motion that could worsen the environmental damage, authorities said.

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