Croatian bay hit by oil spill being cleaned up

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Assistant Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Sinisa Orlic on Tuesday visited the site of a fuel spill in Raska Bay in the northern Adriatic and commended the Istria County Operational Centre, Civil Protection units and all those included in removing the damage caused by the spill.

"I am sorry that this ecological incident occurred, which doesn't occur that often considering that 70 million tonnes of  hazardous freight passes through our sea annually, 10% of which ends up in our ports. We are aware that these scenarios are possible," Orlic said.

Orlic met with local officials in Raska and agreed that activities would continue to clean up the coast, beach and Raska Bay and that the ministry would assist local authorities in those activities.

A day after the incident occurred, the ministry issued a press release confirming information that the spill occurred while fuel was being loaded onto the Fidelity ship which sails under the Lebanese flag.

"It is most probable that this was a human error and charges which will be filed will involve the ship's crew," Orlic explained.

According to Orlic, about 3,800 litres of fuel spilled into the sea and the clean-up operation will last for about ten days or so.

Rijeka Port director, Denis Vukorepa reiterated that it was a human factor that caused the incident.

We will intensify our presence and today already we have issued instructions for port workers to be present when fuel is being loaded, he said.

Bathing is still banned in the bay, and local mussels, cultivated in the area,  cannot be harvested due to possible contamination.