Half of Oil Spilled in Baltic Sea Cleaned Up; Weather Aids Effort

From Associated Press

Nearly half of the oil that spilled into the Baltic Sea last week and soiled Danish beaches has been cleaned up, officials said Sunday.

The spill was caused when a freighter rammed an oil tanker Wednesday off southeastern Denmark. About 764,000 gallons of the tanker's total cargo of 9.7 million gallons poured into the sea.

Cleanup crews have been aided by good weather along the Danish coast, said Joergen Holst Hansen, a representative of the country's Emergency Management Agency.

The slick has soiled more than 12 miles of coastline and killed more than 700 birds. Crews were scrambling to keep the slick from reaching a sanctuary that is home to 10,000 birds in the Fane fiord on the southern coast of Moen island.

More than 200 people joined cleanup efforts on the coasts of Moen, Bogoe, Faroe and Falster islands, officials said. A similar number worked at sea to contain and pump the oil. The cleanup is expected to be finished within a week. The rest of the tanker's oil was to be transferred to another vessel today.

A preliminary report issued Saturday by the Danish Maritime Authorities said the tanker, the Baltic Carrier, may have had a steering problem.

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