The Icelandic authorities who have spent decades trying to prevent leakages from a British oil tanker sunk during an attack by the Nazis in World War II have decided to seal holes with concrete.
The SS El Grillo was sunk off the coast of Seydisfjordur in the Eastern Region of Iceland in a German air attack in February 1944 and the wreck began leaking oil shortly after.
Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, Iceland’s Minister for the Environment, has now had his request for 38 million ISK (212,000 GBP) to seal the ship’s ruptured hull with concrete and prevent more leakage approved by the country’s government.
The leakage has been an ongoing problem for successive governments and previous efforts to even pump the oil from the ship were made in 1952 and 2001, but local media report leaks have intermittently continued.
Last summer oil leaks from the wreck, which is a popular diving spot, became an issue again when divers from Iceland’s Coast Guard found that the hull of the ship had corroded badly.
The tanks will now be filled with concrete to prevent more leakages, while a valve in the concrete will allow oil to be pumped from the ship in future if needed.
The operation to fill the hole is reportedly planned for spring.
SS El Grillo, a steamship which was a Defensively Equipped Merchant Vessel, sunk without casualties whilst anchored at Seydisfjordur. It was carrying a cargo of bunker oil at the time and was badly damaged by three German Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condors.
El Grillo’s captain decided to scuttle the vessel to stop it becoming more of a target along with other ships at Seydisfjordur.
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