Oil spill in the Black Sea is much larger than previously reported

An oil spill off the Russian coast of the Black Sea over the weekend spread over an area of nearly 80 square kilometers and was much larger than previously thought, scientists at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) said Wednesday, citing satellite images.

The leak occurred when the Greek-flagged tanker Minerva Symphony was receiving oil at the Yuzhno-Ozereevka offshore terminal near Novorossiysk in southern Russia, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which owns the terminal, said Monday.

The consortium, which transports oil from Kazakhstan, said Monday that the spill occurred in an area of 200 square meters and involved 12 cubic meters of oil. The spill was quickly contained and posed no threat to people or wildlife, he said.

But the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences said Wednesday that a satellite image taken Sunday and studied by two RAS scientists showed that the spill covered a much larger area.

“According to their calculations … the area of oil pollution reached nearly 80 square kilometers at the time the radar image was taken,” the institute said in a statement on its website.

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