Environment

Corsican beaches reopen after oil spill

This photograph shows the mouth of the Diane pond polluted in Aleria, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, on 12 June, 2021.
This photograph shows the mouth of the Diane pond polluted in Aleria, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, on 12 June, 2021. © AFP/Pascal Pochard-Cacabianca

The beaches of Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica have reopened after oil slicks off the coast last weekend.

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The bathing ban has been lifted on all the beaches of the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio except "the Porto-Novo sector" which is "awaiting an improvement soon", said the Porto-Vecchio town hall on its website.

The ban on anchoring, sailing and nautical activities in the 300 metre strip along the coastline of the town has also been lifted. 

The prohibitions were taken following the appearance of two oil slicks off the coast of Corsica, about 35 kilometres long, suspected to be due to the degassing of a ship.

Significant resources were deployed by air, sea and land to contain the pollution.

Most of the oil deposits found off the coast of Corsica had been recovered early in the week and the beaches had reopened in the north of the island, but a threat remained in the south, notably Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio, where the beaches remained closed.

In Bonifacio, in the extreme south of Corsica, sailing and anchoring in the 300-metre band were again authorised on Thursday afternoon, the town hall said on its Twitter account.

The operations to clean up the beaches were continuing on Thursday but "the surveys, which will continue until this weekend, no longer show traces of hydrocarbons at sea and make us optimistic", said the town hall.

An investigation has been opened by the Marseille public prosecutor's office, responsible for maritime pollution cases on the French Mediterranean coast.

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