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"We are very worried because of the weather forecast. We are rushing against time," Italy's environment minister Corrado Clini said.
Waves are expected to reach a height of more than 4 feet by Saturday evening, making any operation extremely difficult. Moreover, waves could move the ship from its precarious resting place, possibly rupturing fuel tanks filled with 2,300 tons of oil.
Italian authorities have warned that, although no leakage of fuel oil has yet occurred, other pollutants, such as paints, soaps, lubricating oils and waste of any kind, are dissolving in great quantities into the waters of the Tuscan wildlife sanctuary.
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Indeed, the island of Giglio falls within the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals, and is home to more than 700 botanical and animal species including fin whales, sperm whales, dolphins, tuna, billfish and sharks.
Experts say that even a contained leakage of fuel would be an ecological disaster for the flora and fauna in the area.