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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Navy acknowledges 'small' oil spill off Irish coast

RIA Novosti

27/02/2009 15:35 MOSCOW, February 27 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian warship spilled about 20-30 tons of oil while refueling off the coast of Ireland in mid-February, a Navy spokesman said on Friday.

However, Irish officials said on Thursday that a group of Russian naval experts had acknowledged that 500 tons of oil had been spilled.

"The Russian delegation during its visit to Ireland has made no statements acknowledging a 500-ton spill. Russian experts estimate the spill to be much smaller, no more than 20-30 tons," Capt 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

The Navy official confirmed that the delegation, led by Vice Admiral Vladimir Popov, had held a series of meetings on the spill with Irish officials, and the sides had agreed that it posed no threat to the ecology of Ireland's coastal waters.

"The calculations conducted by Russian and Irish experts showed a zero probability of the spill reaching the coast of Ireland. The spill has broken up into smaller parts and its size has been reduced significantly," Dygalo said.

He also said Russia and Ireland had agreed to closely coordinate their environmental protection efforts.

Ireland's RTE channel reported on February 16 that two Russian warships had spilled 12 tons of oil into the sea some 400 km (250 miles) off the coast of Ireland, probably while refueling. Other media said up to 400 tons could have been spilled.

The General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces later confirmed that Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier had been refueled off the Irish coast, but said no fuel leaks had occurred.

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