Egypt confirms oil leak from rig operating off Red Sea coast near resort of Hurghada

Monday, June 21, 2010

Egypt confirms oil leak from rig off Red Sea coast

CAIRO — Egypt’s government confirmed Monday that oil has leaked from one of several rigs operating off the coast of the Red Sea resort Hurghada.

Government spokesman Magdy Rady said the amount was “limited,” but he did not say how much. He said the spill was detected last week and has now been largely contained, according to comments carried by the official Middle East News Agency.

Oil company officials in the port city of Suez said the spill was caused by a leak from an offshore oil platform in Jebel al-Zayt north of Hurghada and has polluted about 100 miles (160 kilometers) of coastline including tourist beach resorts. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Hurghada is one of Egypt’s top tourist destinations and the government kept quiet about the leak for days. The silence could be a sign of concern that the leak might scare away tourists — a vital source of income for Egypt.

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