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Apr 5, 2010 10:16 AM by Associated Press

Australia rushes to contain Barrier Reef oil spill

Workers are hurrying to contain an oil spill today from a coal-carrying ship grounded on Australia's
ecologically sensitive Great Barrier Reef.

A tugboat has been sent to stabilize the vessel so that it would not break apart and further damage the fragile coral beneath.

Traveling at full speed, the Chinese-registered ship rammed into Douglas Shoals late Saturday, about 9 miles outside normal shipping lanes. The area has shipping restrictions in order to protect what is the world's largest coral reef and one that is listed as a World Heritage site.

Officials say About 2 tons of oil have already spilled from the 1,000 tons of fuel on board, creating a 100-yard slick that stretches 2 miles.

Salvage efforts could take weeks.

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