Lonely Planet Writer

Canary island oil spill contaminates beaches

Protesters marching against drilling for oil in the Canary Islands.
Protesters march against oil drilling in the Canary Islands. Image by Jose Mesa / CC BY 2.0

A Russian trawler that sank 24km off the coast of Gran Canaria last week has caused an oil spill that has raised the alarm with conservationists. Clean-up operations have already taken place on the Gran Canaria tourist beaches of Veneguera, Tasarte and Tourito and Greenpeace has released pictures of a local bottlenose dolphin covered in oil. The area where the ship sank is home to deep-sea coral and significant populations of dolphins and turtles, including the endangered loggerhead turtle. Nearby Tenerife has also been put on alert for any signs of the oil slick. The trawler was carrying 1500 tons of fuel and the wreck is thought to be leaking five to ten litres of fuel an hour from its seabed resting place. The Spanish authorities, which were criticised for dragging the sinking ship out to sea, intend to plug the leak and remove the oil from the ship, but bad weather has so far stalled their plans. Read more:  thelocal.es