Coast guard seals oil leaking from 1985 shipwreck off Newfoundland

Reports of oiled seabirds in the Change Islands and Fogo Island area in Newfoundland having been coming in since March 31st after oil began leaking from beneath waters off the coast. Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson says the oil is coming from a ship that sank in 1985. Google Maps

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The coast guard says it has sealed off cracks in a sunken ship that was leaking oil into Newfoundland’s Notre Dame Bay.

Neoprene gaskets and weighted bulk bags were used to plug cracks in the hull of the Manolis L.

The Liberian-flagged vessel sank near Change Islands in January 1985 with more than 500 tonnes of fuel oil and diesel onboard.

Oil has been slowly leaking in recent weeks from two cracks measuring 30 centimetres and 56 centimetres in length.

The coast guard says 24 hours after the cracks were plugged no oil sheen has been visible in the area.

A spokesman said last week that a light sheen on the water was estimated by Transport Canada observers as a leak of about nine litres.

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Local fishermen were concerned about the impact the oil was having on fishing grounds near the group of islands off northeastern Newfoundland.

Noisemakers were used to keep seabirds from the site.

Now that the leak is contained, the coast guard will consider other options for a more permanent solution.

The coast guard says it will check at the end of June to ensure the seals are holding.

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