The alarm bells were sounded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on Wednesday 11 August but the pollution occurred near the port city of Novorossiysk in southern Russia. More than one hundred tons of black gold were spilled into the water, due to a leak, during the loading of the Greek flagged tanker Minerva Symphony at the Yuzhnaya Ozereyevka terminal.
In the process, the Russian authorities announced an investigation for pollution, the Public Prosecutor’s Office having ensured that an inspection of the coast had been organized to give a “Objective assessment” of the disaster scale.
Twelve cubic meters of oil
On Monday, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), which brings oil from the Caspian Sea to Novorossiysk and controls this terminal, announced that around twelve cubic meters of oil had been spilled over an area of 200 meters squares.
There are several seaside resorts in this region, which are very popular among Russian tourists.
“The situation has returned to normal” Sunday morning and does not threaten the local population or environment, said the consortium, owned in particular by the Russian oil giant Rosneft, the American group Chevron and the Italian company Eni.
But the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) assured Wednesday that the leak was much larger and could seriously damage the environment. According to the NGO, which has set up its own system for monitoring ecological disasters, the oil slick was spread on Sunday over an area of 94 square kilometers.
This means that“At least a hundred tons of oil and probably even more” were dumped in the Black Sea, said the WWF in a statement on Facebook. “Despite an operational deployment of rescuers, oil has spread over a colossal area”, assured the NGO, warning against risks “Increased” negative impact on marine animals.
The oil slick drifts north
According to Alexeï Knijnikov, an expert from the Russian branch of WWF, the oil slick drifted north, already reaching the village of Abraou-Diourso known for its beaches and vineyards, and could reach the Utrish nature reserve.
“We can say that there is no objective information on the scale of the leak from the regulatory authorities”, he declared to the AFP.
The Russian Institute for Space Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences has also announced monitoring this pollution, estimating – satellite images to support – that the oil slick was spread over about 80 square kilometers.
“If this information corresponds to reality, fish resources, birds and marine ecosystems in the area of the leak will be threatened”, reacted Greenpeace in a statement. “The health of people, including tourists, who will end up in the pollution zone, is also in danger”, at-il having you.
For its part, the Utrish dolphinarium, located near the seaside resort of Anapa (South) said Wednesday to have detected nearby oil spots on the surface of the water. “When you put your hands in water, your skin is covered with a fatty layer”, he said in a video posted to Instagram.
In the afternoon, the Russian authorities ensured that the situation was closely monitored.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko ordered the Russian Environmental Monitoring Agency (Rosprirodnadzor) to give its assessment of the disaster, the latter also having undertaken to assess the damage caused.
For his part, the Minister of Energy, Nikolai Chulguinov, spoke with the CEO of the CPC, Nikolai Gorban, stressing the need to “Check the information on the scale of the leak”.
At the end of May 2020, 21,000 tonnes of fuel polluted several rivers in the Arctic after the collapse of a tank of a subsidiary of mining giant Norilsk Nickel, causing a huge ” Crimson Tide “ visible from space.