Nile ‘safe from oil leaks’ but measures still underway

A barge that sank north of Aswan carrying 224 tons of diesel fuel did not spill any oil into the Nile, according to the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA). According to Mahmoud Ismail, head of the EEAA, the waters both north and south of Aswan are free of diesel fuel as it was immediately removed using suction hoses.

Ismail said government officials are nevertheless still implementing precautionary measures. Water plants near the site have been ordered to cease operations and the EEAA plans to analyze water samples in the coming days.

Samir Farag, Luxor's governor, announced that a committee has been formed to monitor and prevent any leaked oil from reaching governorate water plants.

Meanwhile Magdi Ayyoub, governor of Qena, has established a control point in Hegara, a village that borders the Qena and Luxor governorates, to detect any evidence of oil. Ayyoub has been discussing plans to close all governorate water plants with the help of the Holding Company for Water and Waste Water.

Until water is analyzed and government officials are completely reassured that no spillage has occurred, local consumption will depend on reserve tanks. Any oil slicks–if they exist–are expected to dissipate within two days, according to Ayyoub, who added that a 24-hour emergency center has been established to field citizen complaints.

Aswan prosecution officials have released from custody the captain of the sunken barge and ordered that a committee be formed to inspect the barge for evidence of any leaked diesel oil.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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