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Fuel leak concern as boat sinks in Portaferry harbour

An investigation has been launched after a boat carrying over 1,000 litres of diesel fuel sank in Portaferry harbour.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency is investigating reports of a diesel spillage at slipway near Cook Street, in the Co Down town.

A water quality inspector from the organisation visited the scene on Friday morning.

In a statement, the organisation said: "The fuel tanks on the vessel are believed to have contained around 1,000 litres of diesel fuel. Diesel is a light oil which spreads rapidly when spilt on water.

"Wind and tidal action will aid evaporation and dispersion. The situation will be kept under review to determine if any remedial measures are necessary or practicable given the strong currents in the vicinity of Cook Street.

"The NIEA Water Management Unit and DAERA Marine and Fisheries Division are working closely with Ards and North Down Borough Council and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in response to the sinking of this vessel. 

"Ards and North Down Borough Council has called in specialist consultants in oil clean-up to manage the response to the incident.  All the relevant authorities and marine businesses have been alerted."

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