Local authorities were quick to reassure initial pollution fears after the Spanish cargo ship Luno ran aground at Anglet. Coming into port at Bayonne harbour, the freighter was in fact empty. But while the ship wasn’t transporting any goods, plenty propulsion diesel oil is known to have leaked from out of the wreck after it split in two on the Cavaliers seawall (you could smell it several kilometres from the site of the accident) and this will have definite consequences on the marine environment.
At present, Surfrider Foundation refuses to talk down the accident. As with the Prestige in 2002, the environmental organisation firmly discourages people from helping to clean up any subsequent pollution found on surrounding beaches as clean-up procedures require specific technical skills and equipment.
On Thursday and Friday of last week, the beached half of the wreak was confirmed as still having a further 70 tonnes of diesel oil. Fearing that this weekend’s strong Atlantic storm might further damage the wreak or wash it back out to sea, petrol tankers were doing their best to empty the remaining potential pollution (see video below).
In fact with the North Atlantic’s run of powerful winter storms already causing exceptionally high levels of pollution to wash up along Europe’s shores as a result of illegal ship emissions and washed over board containers, you’d probably do well to stay out the water for a good couple weeks if not longer.