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Fuel tanker runs aground in Canadian Arctic: coast guard
by Staff Writers
Ottawa (AFP) Sept 2, 2010


A fuel tanker has run aground in Canada's far north, carrying nine million litres (2.4 million gallons) of diesel fuel that risk spilling into the Arctic waters, the Canadian Coast Guard said Thursday.

A coast guard spokesman told AFP no leaks from the tanker had yet been detected in the pristine waters.

The ship struck a sandbar in the famed Northwest Passage, southwest of the town of Gjoa Haven in Canada's Nunavut territory, on Wednesday. It was carrying fuel to resupply remote communities in the region.

Authorities and the ship's owner Woodward's Oil would attempt to float it off the sandbar, the official said.

Last week, another ship struck an uncharted rock in the same waterway, forcing the evacuation of the cruise ship carrying more than 110 passengers and crew.

The crash occurred late Friday as the ship Clipper Adventurer set out from Kugluktuk, Nunavut for a 12-day voyage through the passage.

None of the tourists onboard were injured, said a spokesman for tour operator Adventure Canada.

But it took two days for the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen to arrive at the scene, prompting calls for Canada to beef up its search and rescue capabilities in the far north.

With the acceleration of Arctic ice melt, interest in the region has soared. Shrinking ice has opened up sea navigation, and could give oil rigs improved access to the sea floor.

Canada's claim to the Northwest Passage, however, is disputed by the United States.

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