Erika oil spill, France, 1999

Erika oil spill, France, 1999

E835/0459 Rights Managed

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Caption: Erika oil spill. Soldiers cleaning a beach of oil spilled following the shipwreck of the oil tanker Erika in 1999, off the coast of Brittany, France. This beach is near the town of Croisic. The tanker was carrying 20,000 tons of fuel oil when it sank in a storm in the Bay of Biscay on 12 December 1999. This oil spill was one of the world's worst environmental disasters. Hundreds of kilometres of coastlines were coated in thick oil, hundreds of thousands of seabirds were killed, and the marine ecology was devastated. The clean-up operation took 8 years, but it is thought that the damage was permanent. For a close-up of the oil, see E835/460.

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