KHABAROVSK, February 20 (Itar-Tass) —— Over 215 tonnes of diesel fuel was pumped by Monday night from the damaged tanker "Karakumneft" grounded near Iturup Island, a source at the Russian Emergencies Ministry's Far Eastern regional centre told Itar-Tass.
According to specialists' estimates, about 800 tonnes of fuel is still in the vessel. The fuel is pumped through hoses to tank vehicles and then carried to the on-shore tanks. The work continues 24 hours a day.
Divers, who examined the vessel, found holes in the hull. Some fuel leaked out. The possibility of its further spill was not averted so far. Specialists placed 110 metres of sorbent barriers along its left side, but because of high waves, they cannot put such barriers along its right side facing the open sea.
The weather is not expected to improve in the next few days. According to Sakhalin weather forecasters, there will be a windstorm of up to 34 m/ sec and heavy precipitation in the area of the Kuriles on February 21.
The rescue vessel "Atlas" with special equipment to deal with oil spills arrived at the site on Monday and joined the operation.
The Karakumneft tanker from the port of Nakhodka ran aground on February 15, after leaving the bay of the port of Kurilsk. It was dangerous to remain in the port during the storm, and the crew expected to wait in the open sea until the weather improved. However, the storm threw the vessel onto rocks. All the crewmembers were evacuated. None was hurt.