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Hulk Leaking Oil Was Nearly Ripped in Two

From Associated Press

A Japanese ship that sank off the northwest U.S. coast, spilling oil that washed up on Washington and Oregon beaches, was ripped nearly in two after its collision with a Chinese freighter, a videotape shows.

The wreck of the Tenyo Maru, a fish-processing vessel, lies in 500 feet of water 25 miles northwest of Cape Flattery, the northwestern tip of the contiguous United States.

Oil from the wreck has killed more than 1,900 birds, and hundreds more oiled birds are being cleaned and treated. Tar balls have washed ashore along 50 miles of Washington coast and more than 20 miles of northwest Oregon coast, authorities say.

“Judging by the way it’s lying, the stern sank first and, when it hit the bottom, the impact helped sever it further,” said Rod Nelson of the Canadian Coast Guard in Ucluelet, British Columbia. “Now it’s virtually cut in half.”

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The videotape was shot by a remote-controlled underwater camera.

The Canadian Coast Guard hopes to pump out the remaining oil with the aid of a submersible robot. A coast guard ship was preparing to load the robot and conduct a test dive.

The robot, known as Scorpio, will be sent to the wreck site on the ocean floor today if seas are calm, officials said.

The wreck is leaking between 400 and 1,000 gallons of oil daily.

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