Gorleston oil spill believed to have come from tanker which sank in 1978
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Walkers and dog owners are being advised to keep away from a stretch of coastline after oil deposits, believed to be from a historic shipping disaster, were exposed on the sands. The clean-up operation is beginning this morning.
The oil was spotted at parts of about two miles of the shoreline, running from Gorleston pier to Hopton over the weekend.
Ten HM Coastguard rescue officers from Gorleston and Winterton spent more than six-and-a-half hours along stretches of the beach on Saturday – following reports of a 'pollution incident' at Gorleston.
Steve Williams, officer in charge for HM Coastguard Gorleston, said: 'The advice for walkers and dog owners will remain for at least a couple of days, and it is particularly important for animals to keep away from the water's edge. There are dark patches close to the shoreline where the residue is being left.'
The exposed oil is believed to have come from a historic shipping disaster that took place nearly 40 years ago.
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The Eleni V sank off the coast in 1978 and lost more than 5,000 tones of oil – the worst marine oil slick to have hit the east coast.
The Greek oil tanker was sailing in thick fog when she was struck by the French bulk carrier Roseline six miles off Winterton.
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Graham Plant, Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, visited Gorleston yesterday, with council officers. Mr Plant said: 'The situation at the moment is with the storm tides we have had recently it has scoured away about one metre of the sand.'
With trenches that had previously been dug along the beach having been exposed by the erosion, deposits of oil appeared. Mr Plant added: 'The beach is perfectly safe, but we are asking people to keep away from the shoreline.'