Ecological disaster in Indian Ocean: 4500 tons of oil spilled by Japanese tanker

A Japanese tanker spilled about 4,500 tons of crude oil in the eastern Indian Ocean near the Nicobar islands following a collision with a cargo ship, the tanker's operator announced Tuesday.

Japan's Kyodo news service said the spill may have been the largest ever involving a Japanese tanker.

The Bright Artemis tanker spilled the oil following a collision with the Amar, a smaller cargo ship,Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said in a statement. It said the tanker had maneuvered near the Amar, which was in distress about 500 kilometers (300 miles) west of the Nicobars.

The exact amount of the spill was not clear, the announcement said. The tanker was carrying about 250,000 tons (294 million liters, 77.6 million gallons) of crude. It had left port in Oman, bound for Japan, the AP reports.

There were no reports of injuries aboard the tanker, which had a Croatian captain and a crew of 23. A fire had broken out aboard the Amar, which was registered in Singapore, and its crew was rescued by the Bright Artemis, the announcement said. The accident occurred early Monday, local time.

The remote Nicobar islands are located off the east coast of India, according to the AP.

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