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Oil slick reaching Finnish waters

A slick of pine oil discharged from a plant in Sweden continues to expand and thin out. An inspection flight made on Monday afternoon revealed the slick is around 20 kilometres long and about 10 kilometres wide. The Finnish Environmental Institute (SYKE) estimates it will pass into Finnish waters overnight.

Öljyntorjunta-alus Louhi Rauman satamassa.
Öljyntorjunta-alus Louhi Rauman satamassa sunnuntaina. Image: Teijo Valtanen / YLE

Finland's two oil spill response vessels are in still in dock at Rauma Harbour on the west coast awaiting winds to decrease.

The Institute estimates the slick will reach Finnish shores by the end of the week at the earliest. Westerly winds are blowing it in the direction of Pori on the west coast.

About one quarter of the oil split from the Arizona Chemicals plant in Söderhamn has been cleared away in Swedish waters.

Inspector Uljas Hietapakka of Finland’s Environmental Institute told YLE the slick could have a large impact on the coast. He noted pine oil, a derivative from wood processing, was a natural substance but dangerous to the environment. He added that if the oil dissolved into a thin film, it would very difficult to clean up.

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