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Russian oil spill threatens thousands of birds

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Russian oil spill threatens thousands of birds


Russian rescuers have recovered the bodies of three sailors lost overboard during Sunday’s violent storms in the Azov and Black Seas.

At least five ships sank, including an oil tanker. Another five sailors are still missing, but 35 have been found.

Many ships were damaged in the storm, some are drifting helplessly, others driven ashore where they are at the mercy of the waves.

More violent weather is forecast for the area over the next few hours.

The tanker broke her back in the heavy seas. She was carrying thick fuel oil, and thousands of tons have leaked into the sea.

The clean-up has begun, but the oil poses a deadly threat to Siberian birds migrating south for the winter. Ecologists say 30,000 birds have already died and as many more are threatened.

Local media said the Soviet-era tanker had been built to transport oil on rivers, was not designed to withstand violent storms, and did not have a permit to operate at sea.

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