Tunis/Tunisia — Diving operations carried out by a team of the National Navy to examine the state of the tanker that sank off Gabes started this Sunday morning, the Ministries of Environment and Transport announced.
The interventions to encircle the ship are conducted simultaneously, in the presence of Minister of Transport, Rabii Mejidi, and Minister of Environment, Leila Chikhaoui.
All measures are being taken to pump out the gas oil if necessary and avoid marine pollution, they said.
The merchant ship Xelo, flying the flag of Equatorial Guinea and loaded with 750 tonnes of diesel, sank on Saturday morning off Gabes.
The crew of the tanker, which was sailing from Egypt to Malta, launched a distress call on Friday evening because of the difficult weather conditions.
The priority was to rescue the 7 crew members, which was successfully done despite the difficult weather, the transport minister said on Saturday.
He also explained that the interventions will be concentrated on the examination of the accident site and the ship to avoid diesel leaks. Then actions will be carried out to pump out possible leaks and then to retrieve the wreck from the water.
For her part, the Minister for the Environment said on Saturday that her department is coordinating with the various parties involved in the framework of the National Emergency Response Plan.
A remote meeting of the Regional Committee for Disaster Control in the governorate of Gabes was held in the presence of the two ministers and members of the National Committee for Emergency Response and the fight against marine pollution.