Beaches in the Canary Islands under threat from oil slick

Oil slick off the Canary Islands
Oil slick off the Canary Islands

An environmental alert has been activated as an oil slick threatens holiday beaches on the south-western Canary Islands.

The Spanish government activated a level 2 alert after analysing ocean current data from the Oceanographic Institute, saying the slick that reached coastlines earlier in the week could affect vulnerable land. Level 2 is the second highest alert level.

One beach has been cleared of oil and clean-up operations are ongoing on three other beaches near the tourist hot-spot of Maspalomas on Gran Canaria.

The Russian trawler Oleg Naydenov, carrying 1,400 metric tons of fuel oil, caught fire in a nearby port on April 11. It was towed out to sea, some 15 miles south of the island, where it sank three days later.

Greenpeace in Spain are also reporting that animals, like dolphins, are beginning to appear covered in oil and that the oil slick is now 100km wide.