Salvage workers began pumping the remaining 16 million gallons of oil from the crippled Sea Empress tanker on Saturday, while wildlife rescuers rushed to save oil-soaked birds and animals.
An oil slick spread 50 miles from the tanker, which shed more than half its load after running aground Feb. 15. The crude encircled Lundy Island, a marine nature reserve off the coast of Devon in southwest England.
The spill is one of the 10 worst ever. It is nearly twice that of the Exxon Valdez which gushed 11 million gallons into Prince Edward Sound in Alaska in 1989.
“It is the worst environmental disaster we have ever seen,” said Joan Edwards of the Devon Wildlife Trust. “Milford Haven looks like a holocaust - dead birds, shellfish and worms are littering the area.”
Some 20 million gallons of crude oil spilled in eight days.