Ship aground: Bid to limit impact of MV Carrier fuel leak
Efforts are being made to minimise the impact of leaked fuel from a cargo ship which ran aground in north Wales.
Environment Agency Wales (EAW) said the MV Carrier shed "a small quantity" of gas oil after it hit a rock in rough seas at Llanddulas, Colwyn Bay.
EAW said the environmental impact of the incident had been minimal so far.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said salvage experts had inspected the ship and were preparing a plan to remove the vessel and its intact fuel supply.
There are three holes on the starboard side of the vessel, which is carrying 40,000 litres of fuel.
However the main fuel supply, on its port side, is intact, and any light diesel that escaped overnight is expected to be broken up by the high winds and rough sea.
EAW predicted that any more fuel leaking from the vessel would be confined to a small area between Colwyn Bay and Rhyl.
In a statement the agency said: "As much of the escaping gas oil is likely to evaporate and be dispersed by the sea, its environmental impact is expected to be minimal at this stage."
On Wednesday evening Fred Caygill of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) told BBC Wales its officers had boarded the vessel to inspect it and were preparing a salvage plan.
End Quote Fred Caygill Maritime and Coastal Agency
...we're very hopeful that things can progress very quickly and we can see some movement on the salvage of the fuel and the vessel itself”
"Any maritime incident of this type presents its own individual challenges and this one's no different," said Mr Caygill.
"At this moment in time the ship is upright, it's stable on the beach and we're hopeful that with the abating weather things will remain the same and we can continue with the operation as the days progress."
Asked how long the ship would remain where it was, Mr Caygill replied: "It's very difficult to put a time limit on that at the moment but we're very hopeful that things can progress very quickly and we can see some movement on the salvage of the fuel and the vessel itself."
The Countryside Council for Wales has confirmed that the area is a European designated conservation zone.Beach patrol
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said it was worried about the potential impact to a wintering population of sea birds.
However EAW said its officers had been patrolling the beaches on either side of the incident and found no traces of pollution.
The agency said the incident was not comparable to a large scale oil spill, such as from the Sea Empress tanker off the Pembrokeshire coast in 1996.
End Quote Environment Agency Wales
As much of the escaping gas oil is likely to evaporate and be dispersed by the sea, its environmental impact is expected to be minimal at this stage”
The conditions remain a problem for those trying to secure the stricken vessel, which is off the beach a few feet from the A55, and attempts were being made to refloat it.
Seven crew members were rescued from the ship on Tuesday night.
The rescue operation involving lifeboats and a helicopter began after the vessel - which used a jetty to load limestone - is believed to have hit a rock on the breakwater and ended up on the beach.
The RNLI said the Llandudno and Rhyl all-weather lifeboats launched into a "full gale and rough seas" at 20:30 BST and arrived on scene by 21:00 BST.
All seven of the Polish crew were successfully rescued by about 01:00 BST.
The Department of Transport's Maritime Accident Investigation Branch is investigating the incident.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said the Welsh government had been kept fully informed and praised emergency services for their "heroic efforts" in saving the ship's crew.
"The dedication and professionalism of our emergency services is something we can all be exceptionally proud of," said Mr Jones.
"Our focus now will be to offer any assistance necessary to salvage the ship and to ensure every effort is made to lessen any potential environmental impact."
The grounding comes after another vessel - the Swanland - got into difficulties and disappeared on 27 November 30 miles north-west off the Lleyn peninsula after loading with limestone at the same Raynes Jetty.