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Russian research ship sets off to probe 2007 Black Sea oil spill


MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian research vessel departs Russia's Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad on Tuesday for the Black Sea to probe into the long-term consequences of the 2007 oil spill in the Kerch Strait.

During a storm on November 11, 2007, four ships sank and six ran aground in the channel between Russia and Ukraine that links the Black and Azov seas. Two oil tankers were damaged, causing a spill of around 2,000 metric tons of fuel oil.

"This will be Russia's largest expedition in the Black Sea" for a decade, said Alexei Sokov, deputy director at the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The month-long expedition on board the Professor Shtokman vessel will involve over 80 people.

One of the ship's previous expeditions opened the Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea, whose reserves have been assessed at 1.5-2 trillion cu m of gas. The Professor Shtokman was also involved in seismological research near Bushehr in Iran, where a nuclear power plant is being built with Russia's assistance.

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