MALTESE TANKER STILL AGROUND ON CLIPPERTON

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No spill reported of chemical cargo

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Feb. 26, 2010) - The Maltese chemical tanker "Sichem Osprey" is still aground on the uninhabited tiny atoll of Clipperton, the French High Commissioner's reported Friday in Papeete.

The "Sichem Osprey" ran aground on Clipperton earlier this month. The ship's British agent alerted the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Center) Papeete Feb. 10.

The 170 meters-long ship was going from the Panama Canal to South Korea.

The tanker contains xylene but there is reportedly still no links on the hull. The crew of 19 is safe.

So far several attempts to tow the ship have failed. The French frigate Courbet recently arrived in Clipperton and more attempts are scheduled next week.

Clipperton Island is a French possession with an economic ocean zone of 425,000 square kilometers (164,093 square miles) that is rich in tuna.

It is located above the equator 1,120 km (700 miles) southwest of Acapulco, Mexico, and 2,623 km (1,630 miles) south-southeast of San Diego, Calif.

It is a circular coral atoll, the only atoll in the East Pacific, spread over six square km (2.3 sq. miles). There is no pass through the coral reef into the lagoon.

The High Commissioner in Papeete is responsible for Clipperton, although the island is located more than 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles) northeast of Tahiti.

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