According to satellite pictures reviewed by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the size of the oil leak near Russia’s Novorossiysk is 400,000 times greater than the Caspian Pipeline Consortium first stated, totaling 80 square kilometers, Sputnik News writes.
“The leak is considerably greater than was stated, since the oil contamination area approached 80 square kilometers at the time of the radar scan. On August 8, the oil slick had spread 19 kilometers from the shore into open water,” according to a statement issued by the Space Research Institute.
The radar picture captured by the Sentinel-1 satellite on August 8 was examined by scientists from the Space Research Institute’s Institute of Oceanology.
The spill was exacerbated by a storm, but wind coming in from the shore protected the coastal regions from contamination, according to Andrey Kostianoy, head researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oceanology.
“It would have been considerably worse if the [oil spill] had washed ashore. We’d have to clean up the beach,” Kostianoy elaborated.
The World Wildlife Fund Russia assessed the oil leak to be 100 tonnes in size, with 7 kilometers of shoreline contaminated near Abrau Durso. According to WWF Russia, oil skimming may take up to two weeks.
The oil leak occurred on August 7, when oil was poured onto the Greek oil tanker Minerva Symphony from a Caspian Pipeline Consortium loading mechanism, with the spill area estimated to be about 200 square meters.