Minimize Sweden and Denmark, June 2003

Stockholm, Sweden, 03 June 2003 - Residents and rescuers worked to clean up patches of oil that leaked from a sunken Chinese freighter on to southern Sweden's sandy beaches. "We have a string of oil leading from the sunken ship to the coast," Swedish coast guard spokesman, Jan Sjoelin said, adding that nearly 83,700 litres (22,100 gallons) were streaming from the sunken Fu Shan Hai freighter.

Some 60 people from nearby towns along the coast, including rescue services, were taking part in the cleanup along 10 kilometres of the picturesque shore, which is a popular destination for tourists.

The Fu Shan Hai sank north of the popular Danish resort island of Bornholm, 40 kilometres south-west of Sweden. Environmental ships from Sweden, Denmark and Germany were able to contain most of the nearly 39-square-kilometers lick off the coast.

Sjoelin said more oily paste is expected because the Fu Shan Hai has another 2 million litres (nearly 553,000 gallons) still aboard it. The spill was evident, glistening on the surface of the water, and lumps will land on the beaches.

The Fu Shan Hai, which was carrying 66,000 tons of fertilizer, went down after colliding with the Cyprus-registered Gdynia in clear weather. The Chinese ship's 27 crew members were rescued and taken to Bornholm. No one was injured on the Gdynia.

As many as 160,000 vessels sail through Danish straits annually, on the main route for sailing between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.

Event Timeline
Stockholm, Sweden
The ESA ERS-2 satellite image below was acquired on 02 June 2003 from the Matera Station, on the same day as the oil spill occurred near the Swedish coast.
ERS-2 Satellite image
View large image [JPG, 168 KB]
Technical Information
Satellite: ERS-1 & 2
Instrument: Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)
Date of Acquisition: 02 June 2003
Orbit: 42439
Frame: 1107
Area Map

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