'Oil spill ship' finally leaves Norway

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The bulk cargo vessel Full City was finally towed out of Norway on Monday, six weeks after it grounded in a storm off Telemark and set off the country’s worst oil spill ever.

A flotilla of emergency vessels surrounded the severely damaged bulker as it was pulled from the NATO pier at Bamble in Telemark County early Monday morning.

Two powerful tugs are towing the crippled vessel to a shipyard at Gothenburg, with a surveillance plane overseeing the operation from the air. Officials at the Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket) said there were no signs of spillage, after “all the oil that was possible to get off the ship, was pumped out.”

Johan Marius Lien of Kystverket said there may still be some oil on board the Full City, so the towing operation was being closely monitored.

“But there’s sunshine and good weather, and we’re underway,” Lien told news bureau NTB Monday morning.

The removal of the vessel from Norwegian waters has been delayed several times because of safety concerns and bad weather.

The vessel will undergo inspection in Gothenburg, and then it’s up to the Full City’s Chinese owners to decide what to do with the ship. It’s unclear whether it will be repaired or scrapped.The vessel grounded during the night on July 31. It had been anchored up, waiting to take on cargo in Porsgrunn, when a sudden and severe storm crashed the ship onto the rocks.

The grounding unleashed heavy bunkers oil from the Full City, which fouled the scenic coastline and left seabirds coated with oil.