Oil spill threatens national park in Taiwan

More than 100 workers spent Monday scooping up spilled oil, hoping to clean up leakage from a sunken tanker that officials say threatens a coral reef natural reserve.

More than 1,000 tons of fuel oil poured out of the Greek-registered Amargos near a maritime national park in the southern resort town of Kenting after the tanker sank Jan. 14, officials said.

Cleanup only began over the weekend, because of difficulties in finding workers during the lunar Chinese New Year holidays, said Liu Hsin-ming, a park official.

The slick contaminated about 3,300 feet of the Lungkeng coral reef along the island's Pacific coast, a scenic rocky area in the massive Kenting park, Liu said.

Local newspapers quoted ecologists as saying it may take 10 years before marine life will regain ecological balance.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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