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Oil washes up on Southend and Canvey beaches

An oil slick has washed up on a beach in Essex. The spill, which is approximately 500 litres of heavy duty oil, leaked from a ship in the Thames Estuary late on Sunday.

The oil has affected a stretch of beach approximately four miles long near the Southend Sea Life Centre with parts of the Canvey beach also affected.

The spill cleanup operation has already started with Southend Borough Council and Castle Point Council already taking steps to remove the pollution. Members of the public have been asked to keep off the beaches until the spill clean-up has been completed.

The sea Life centre usually takes its water from the Thames Estuary but has had to dump the water it was using, the curator David Knapp stated:

"We have now taken all the appropriate steps now to ensure the safety of all the inhabitants of the Sea Life Adventure.

"The bigger concern, of course, is the marine fauna, particularly those animals which float at the surface and scavenge in the intertidal zone, like seabirds."

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