Kerch Strait eco system partly restored after 2007 oil spill

15:17, 30 October 2008
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But consequences could emerge later

The Kerch Strait eco system has partially recovered almost a year after last November`s oil spill, a spokesman for the WWF Russian Caucasus regional office said on Thursday, according to RIA Novosti.

During a storm on November 11, 2007, four ships sank and six ran aground in the channel between Russia and Ukraine that links the Black and Azov seas. Two oil tankers were damaged, causing a spill of around 2,000 metric tons of fuel oil.

"We can only rejoice that the consequences of the disaster are not showing themselves despite fears, but they could emerge later, the more so since black oil reappears on the water now and then," Denis Shestakov said.

However, the WWF described the situation in the area as "not favorable enough," fearing that consequences of the disaster could yet pop up.

Environmentalists said earlier that the Kerch Strait eco system could recover completely in four or five years, according to the most optimistic forecasts, or within two decades, in the worst scenario.

The Ukrainian emergencies ministry said in early July that the Kerch Strait had been completely cleared of traces of the fuel spill.

The number of visitors to Temryuk and its environs on the shores of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov almost doubled to 640,000 people last summer against the summer of 2007, a district administration spokesman said.

RIA Novosti

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