April 15, 2015 / 10:37 AM / 5 years ago

Fuel-laden Russian trawler sinks off Canary Islands

MADRID, April 15 (Reuters) - A Russian fishing trawler full of fuel has sunk off the coast of Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, sea rescue authorities said on Wednesday as they checked to see if there had been any spillage.

The Oleg Naydenov, sank late on Tuesday, some 15 nautical miles south of Gran Canaria, one of the most southerly islands in the Spanish archipelago off the northwestern African coast near Morocco.

It caught fire over the weekend in the island’s port of Las Palmas when it was ready to set sail, the port authority said. The ship was towed away from the area to keep the fire under control and was on its way back when it sank.

“The Marine Rescue Service has mobilized anti-pollution resources to check whether there has been any (fuel) spillage and to act if necessary,” the unit, part of Spain’s Public Works and Transport ministry, said in a statement.

The trawler, which could have had up to 1,400 tonnes of fuel on board according to data from Greenpeace, sank to a depth of about 2,400 metres, south of the beach of Maspalomas, which is famed for its sand dunes.

Spain suffered its worst ever environmental disaster in 2002 when the Prestige oil tanker sank off the northwestern coast. (Reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel and Raquel Castillo; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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