The government is taking steps to prevent further leakage from the El Grillo oil tanker, RÚV reports. The British ship was sunk just off the coast of Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland during a German air raid in February 1944 and oil began leaking into the bay shortly after that.
On Friday morning, the government approved Minister for the Environment Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson’s request for ISK 38 million ($264,000/€243,000) to seal the ruptured hull of the ship and prevent further leakage. Efforts were made to pump oil from El Grillo in 1952 and 2001, but the leaking has continued intermittently.
Oil leakage from the sunken tanker became a problem again last summer. An investigation was launched and Coast Guard divers discovered that the ship’s hull had corroded. Per the government’s decision this morning, the breach will be filled with concrete to prevent further leakage. A valve will be fitted in the concrete so that, if necessary, oil can be pumped from the ship in the future.
The plan is to fill in the hole in El Grillo’s hull this spring, before the sea warms and the oil begins leaking again.