Sri Lanka works to clean oil slicks near capital

A Sri Lankan coast guard person in protective clothes works to remove oil from a beach following an oil spill in Uswetakeiyawa, a coastal town north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, Sept. 10, 2019.Sri Lanka deployed hundreds of coast guard and navy personnel on Monday to clean oil slicks on a coastal stretch near the capital following a spill caused by a pipeline leak. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lanka has deployed hundreds of coast guard and navy personnel to clean oil slicks on a coastal stretch near the capital following a spill caused by a pipeline leak

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka deployed hundreds of coast guard and navy personnel on Monday to clean oil slicks on a coastal stretch near the capital following a pipeline leak.

Saumya Ekanayake, a spokesman for the government's Marine Environment Protection Authority, said the leak occurred Saturday night in a pipeline carrying oil from tankers to a storage facility on land, releasing about 25 tons of furnace oil. The leak occurred off Uswetakeiyawa, a town about 14 kilometers (9 miles) north of Colombo.

The leak caused oil slicks along a stretch of the coast about 2 kilometers (1 mile), Ekanayake said.

About 300 navy and coast guard personnel were deployed to clean the area.

Ekanayake said the leak had stopped, but it would take two or three more days to complete the cleaning task.

He said the authority was investigating the incident.

A similar oil leak occurred in 2015 in a pipeline in the same area.

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