A massive rescue operation is underway at the Rotterdam port in the Netherlands after more than 800 swans, hundreds of geese and many cormorants and gulls have been caught in the oil spill after approximately 220 tonnes of fuel oil leaked into water when a tanker from Odfjell hit a jetty, a breakwater constructed to protect the harbour, rapturing its hull.

The oil spill took place on Saturday afternoon after which hundreds of volunteers have been working to clean up the birds covered in oil. However, they have been overwhelmed by the number of contaminated birds.

A help centre has been set up in a car parking in Maassluis, the city where Rotterdam port is located, by state water company officials to look after the birds and manage the operation.

“Swans are pretty big birds. They need a lot of space and a lot of people,” Official spokeswoman Elske ten Have was quoted by BBC as saying.

According to reports, around 10 km area of the port has become contaminated with hundreds of birds inside the water.

Recalling the port’s history, many people are touting the accident as a catastrophe. The Harbourmaster, Rene de Vries, while talking to media said that the port was a clean harbour till Saturday and they plan to keep it that way.

To prevent further oil spread, booms have been deployed but as per reports, the oil has spread along 2 waterways near Rotterdam, the Nieuwe Maas and Nieuwe Waterweg.


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Ankur Taliyan