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Oil Leaking from Ship Grounded Near Barra de Navidad

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July 17, 2017

On Friday, October 23, the bulk carrier Los Llanitos ran aground on rocks near Punta Graham, Barra de Navidad, some 25 nautical miles north of Manzanillo on Mexico's Pacific coast. (Photo credit: fleetmon)

Manzanillo, Mexico - An inspection by environmental authorities has found evidence that oil is leaking from a bulk carrier that went aground near Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, during Hurricane Patricia in October 2015.

The environmental protection agency, Profepa, has asked the port captain at nearby Manzanillo, Colima, to order the ship's owners to install an absorption and containment boom around Los Llanitos, a 223 meter (731-foot) long ship that remains partially aground at Punta Graham.

Oil stains and iridescence were found in the waters around the ship and the smell of oil was detected near the vessel, which was caught in Hurricane Patricia and went aground on October 23, sustaining severe structural damage.

Profepa said the oil appeared to be remnants of petroleum products remaining in the ship's tanks, which were pumped out following the accident. A salvage firm removed 11,000 liters of oil and almost 500 cubic meters of diesel.

Officials said the ship was in danger of breaking up, particularly now during hurricane season, and that it was urgent that the containment boom be put in place.

An inspection of nearby beaches revealed no signs of oil contamination, Profepa said.

Local fishermen were angered in April after authorities imposed restrictions prohibiting vessels from approaching the wrecked freighter.

The president of a local fishing cooperative said more than 100 fishermen were affected by the prohibition, which officials said was put in place for security reasons.

Sources: 20 Minutos AF Medios