An environmental disaster in the mid-Atlantic has been averted, with helicopters brought into action to remove toxic products from a ship that had run aground. There were grave fears for marine life around Portugal’s Azores Islands after the vessel, flying the flag of Bermuda, got into difficulty three weeks ago. Travelling from Canada when it suffered engine trouble, the ship took refuge some 1,500 kilometres west of Portugal in the Azore Island of Faial. Those on board disembarked from the vessel safely.Both Portuguese military aircraft and a Russian helicopter hired by the shipowner were called in to help with the clean-up operation. The vessel will now be broken up where it is – in an operation that looks likely to continue until next summer.