From: Associated Press
Published November 9, 2004 12:00 AM

Australia Says Oil Slick is Polluting World Heritage-Listed Part of Coast

PERTH, Australia − An oil slick up to 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) long is polluting a World Heritage-listed stretch of the west Australian coast that includes an important nesting site for threatened loggerhead turtles, a state government said Tuesday.


The slick in the Shark Bay area of Western Australia state's north coast includes a turtle habitat on Dirk Hartog Island. It was reported to the state government on Monday, state Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said.


Authorities have not yet determined the source, she said.


It was not immediately clear whether any wildlife had been affected by the slick.


"The members of our environment protection unit will be assessing the nature and extent of the spill to determine what action needs to be taken," MacTiernan said in a statement.


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If the slick is identified as fuel, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will help the state government by providing details of ships in the area in recent days, she said.


Loggerhead turtles have been listed as vulnerable worldwide by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.


Source: Associated Press


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