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Spain Battles To Save Nature

Spain battlsto contain an oil spill from a stricken tanker.

Patches of oil had entered a sensitive 21-mile stretch between the rich shellfishing area of cape Finisterre and Malpica. But the bulk of the oil ? some 85,000 tons ? remained aboard the Bahamian-registered Prestige, about 80 miles off Spain's Atlantic coast.

A Netherlands-based international salvage company struggls to keep the Prestige intact in rough weather. Ecologists warns about the serious ecological disaster as some parts of the sea are covered in a dark layer of fuel oil up to 15 inches thick on the rocky coastline.

The fuel oil appears to be from a 3,300 ton leak from the Prestige following an accident during a storm Wednesday night. The ship?s hull has no outer casing to provide extra protection against leakage.

The tanker is owned by the Greek company Mare Shipping Incorporated.