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Oil SpillÂ’s Guilty Parties?

The search continues Twenty tons of spilled oil mysteriously appeared along a 35-kilometer stretch of the Estonian northwest coast last week, and ornithologists estimate 35,000 birds have died or will die from the spill. No one yet knows who is at fault, although fingers are being pointed everywhere.

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said that it is possible the ship that caused the pollution is the tanker Flawless, sailing under the Liberian flag. Ansip said that the tanker informed the Border Guard on January 25th that 1.5 tons of heavy fuel oil spilled on deck during pumping.

The Hanseatic Shipping Company, operator of the tanker Flawless, denied the pollution came from their tanker. They acknowledged some oil was spilled on deck, but said it was immediately removed.

14 other ships are currently under investigation.
Last week, members of opposition parties called for the resignation of Estonia’s Environmental Minister Villu Reiljan. Reiljan responded he had no reason to resign. Reiljan attacked opposition parties for attempting to benefit from the scandal. “Attempt to reap interior political benefits from a nature catastrophe and dying birds is shameful,” said Reiljan.

The ongoing investigation is certainly necessary, although it is not much consolation to the birds.