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THE WORLD

Oil Tanker Hits a Reef Near Fiji

July 04, 2002|Reuters

SUVA, Fiji — An oil tanker ran aground in stormy seas on a reef near Fiji's popular tourist islands, threatening an ecological disaster if the cargo leaks, the South Pacific nation's navy said Wednesday.

A salvage attempt was underway to refloat the Papua New Guinea-registered Great Theresa, which ran onto the reef several hours after it left Fiji's main port of Nadi, Navy Operations Officer Waisale Korowisa said.

So far the tanker's cargo, the size of which was unknown, had not leaked, Korowisa said.

Navy Cmdr. Viliame Naupoto said Fiji had no salvage ships or other equipment to deal with a large oil spill, but a tugboat had been secured to the ship, which was resting on the reef in the Navula Passage, about 30 miles west of Nadi, on the west side of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu.

"If there is an oil spill, it will be disastrous for the tourist coastal area of Fiji, especially with the huge waves coming in," he said.

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