Pipeline spills crude into French nature reserve
Four thousand cubic meters (140,000 cu ft) of crude oil has spewed into a nature reserve on the edge of France's Camargue national park after an underground pipe burst, officials said on Friday.
"This is a real ecological disaster," junior environmental minister Chantal Jouanno told reporters after visiting the area in the far south of France.
The spill spread over 2 hectares (5 acres) of the Coussouls de Crau reserve near the town of Saint-Martin-de-Crau, which was created in 2001 and is home to thousands of birds.
The site lies at the entrance to the Camargue park, a vast expanse of plains and marshland, famous for its wild horses and bulls, that boards the Mediterranean Sea.
The fractured pipeline was operated by the Societe du Pipeline Sud-Europeen (SPSE), which supplies refineries and a petrochemical plant in France, Switzerland and Germany.