Oil from ruptured tanker hits Noto Peninsula

KYOTO — Oil spills caused by a ruptured Russian tanker washed up on a beach in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, Jan. 15 on the northwestern part of the Noto Peninsula.The Maritime Safety Office in Niigata fears oil from the tanker Nakhodka will hit the northern tip of the peninsula Jan. 16 and move toward Toyama and Niigata prefectures. The Nakhodka sank northeast of the Oki Islands, Shimane Prefecture, on Jan. 2 loaded with 19,000 kiloliters of oil. It continues to leak there from its hull. In the sea off Mikuni, Fukui Prefecture, where the bow section of the tanker ran aground, winds, hail and four-meter waves prevented crews from carrying out preparatory work to extract the remaining oil. Michiko Ishii, director general of the Environment Agency, has visited the coasts of Ishikawa and Fukui prefectures, and the vice governor of Ishikawa Prefecture, Shota Iwamoto, explained the situation to Ishii when she arrived at Komatsu Airport in Ishikawa Prefecture. “It is regrettable that the wonderful surroundings in Hokuriku have been destroyed,” Ishii said. “I am prepared to take all measures possible to cope with the situation.” At a news conference, Russian ambassador Aleksandr Panov said the Russian government has allotted $300,000 to deal with the incident and sent two oil retrieval ships to the areas. The 2,372-ton Neftegaz-5 arrived at Hakodate port in Hokkaido for refueling on Jan. 15. It is expected to arrive in the affected area early Jan. 18, weather permitting.