Japan Oil Tankers Collide

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Nando Times

Oil spilled into Pacific after Japanese tankers collide

The Associated Press

TOKYO (September 23, 2000 10:57 a.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) - Two Japanese tankers collided Saturday in the Pacific Ocean, spilling 3,120 gallons of heavy fuel oil, the Coast Guard said.

None of the 11 crew members of the 499-ton Hozan Maru No. 8 - which released the oil - or the 699-ton Nissho Maru were injured.

There were no reports of the spill reaching the shoreline, said Coast Guard official Hiroaki Higashiura.

The accident occurred amid heavy rain and high waves about four miles off the coast of Wakayama state, located approximately 280 miles southwest of Tokyo, said Higashiura.

The Coast Guard dispatched 10 ships to contain the spill and two airplanes to watch from above as the oil spread over several square miles, he said.

The operation failed to clean up all the fuel and will continue Sunday.

The Hozan Maru was being held at sea so officials could determine whether it was likely to leak more oil, but the Nissho Maru returned to port with a dent, Higashiura said.

The Coast Guard was also investigating whether the accident was caused by negligence, he said.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), September 23, 2000

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