Probe after massive diesel spill along Larne coastline

An aerial shot showing the extent of the diesel spillage off the Larne coastline on Saturday.  INLT 25-688-CON  Pic by Damian Hemy

An aerial shot showing the extent of the diesel spillage off the Larne coastline on Saturday. INLT 25-688-CON Pic by Damian Hemy

An investigation is underway after a major diesel spillage in the sea around Larne at the weekend.

The Times understands that tens of thousands of litres of fuel was leaked into sea on Friday.

We have been sent pictures taken on Saturday showing what appears to be a massive slick off the Larne coastline, which reportedly stretches from Drains Bay to the Gobbins.

The NI Environment Agency has confirmed it has been informed of the incident and has launched an investigation.

Stephen Craig of East Antrim Boat Club, which held its regatta on Saturday morning, described it as a “major environmental incident”.

“There was fuel on the water when I launched the boats on Saturday morning; it was all over the lough,” he added.

“Some visiting boats from Carrick said the fuel was also present near the Gobbins, and others said it had reached Drains Bay.

“People in Ballygally could smell the fumes and were out checking their oil tanks for leaks, that is how bad it was.

“Our regatta went ahead as planned, but if the wind had picked up and we thought there was any danger that people could fall into the water, we would have called it off.

“Some people who were taking part said their heads were thumping due to the fumes.”

Another local person told the Times: “My brother was rowing from Drains Bay to the boat club and there was fuel on the water the whole way. He felt physically sick afterwards from the fumes.”

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