TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — A commercial oil tanker carrying more than 750 tons of diesel ran aground overnight from Friday to Saturday in the Gulf of Gabès in southeastern Tunisia.
According to the Environment Ministry, the ship sank late Saturday morning due to water seeping into the engine room. Only the bow of the boat was still visible. It’s unclear if it is leaking fuel.
As soon as the accident was announced Friday night, the Environment Ministry announced the activation of the national emergency response plan, put in place over the potential threat of maritime pollution.
That consists of experts, marine guard and civil protection agents being deployed to the danger zone, and buffers such as tarpaulin put around the perimeter to contain any leak.
The “Xelo,” which was flying the flag of Equatorial Guinea, had left the port of Damietta in Egypt heading for Malta, but was diverted from its route due to bad weather conditions.
The crew was saved by teams from the Maritime Guard and Civil Protection.