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The oil spill occurred during the unloading of 100,000 tons of crudeshipped by the tanker 'Antarctica' sailing under the Cayman Islands flag.
Crude oil first spilled onto the deck and further on to the sea waters,the ministry said. The unloading was halted immediately and the tugboatSmith Sulavesi servicing the terminal deployed booms to contain thespill.
Environmental protection inspectors are now estimating the scale ofoil spill and its damage to environment, Gediminas Markauskas, head ofAccident Prevention and Management Division of State EnvironmentalProtection Inspectorate, said in a statement.
Pollution liquidation was being coordinated by the Administration of SafeNavigation at the Transport Ministry, which notified relevant Latvian,Swedish and EU authorities about the incident.
The largest oil spill to date at the Butinge terminal occurred inNovember 2001 when some 59 tons of crude leaked into the sea pollutingalmost 5,000 square meters area.