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Tanker Collision Spills Fuel into Russian Far East River

The damaged container in Tuesday's tanker collision on the Lena River.

A collision between two tankers has caused a fuel spill in one of Russia’s largest rivers, authorities in the Russian Far East said Tuesday.

A state of emergency was declared in the Irkutsk region after the collision spilled between 60 and 90 tons of gasoline into the Lena River, which stretches more than 4,000 kilometers from the Baikal Mountains and empties into the Arctic Ocean. 

“At the moment, the oil slick has passed through a number of settlements,” Irkutsk Governor Igor Kobzev said on the Telegram messaging app.

He said emergency response crews were monitoring the situation and trying to restrict water usage in the affected areas.

Kobzev noted one of the tankers involved in the collision was operated by an assistant captain as the head captain of the vessel was intoxicated.

Authorities believe the collision was caused by violations of navigation rules.

The ship was reportedly carrying 832 tons of gasoline at the time of the accident, but the container damaged in the collision held just 138 tons of fuel.

Authorities said the ship’s owner had failed to report the collision in a timely manner, which led to more gasoline being spilled into the river.

Kozbev added that a criminal case has been launched into the incident but did not specify the charges.

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