Authorities have blocked off water purification stations along the Nile River in southern Egypt to prevent 100 tonnes of diesel oil that leaked from a barge from polluting drinking water, officials said on Sunday.
The vessel was docked in Aswan, 1,100km south of Cairo, when low water levels caused it to tilt, partially submerge and leak 110 tonnes of diesel fuel into the Nile on Saturday.
Aswan Governor Mustafa al-Sayed told the MENA news agency that sites along the Nile that feed river water to purification stations have been blocked off as a precautionary measure to prevent polluted water from entering filters.
Egypt gets much of its drinking water from the Nile.
Luxor Governor Samir Farag said the small slick fragmented as it passed through an area of dense grass. Farag said samples of water would be tested regularly as the spill approached Luxor, which is down river from Aswan.
A senior Luxor official, Hussein Ali, said the slick was 55m wide and 2km long, but was shrinking and was not expected to affect water supply stations.
Earlier on Saturday, the barge’s captain, Yasser Hussein, told police that a drop in water levels caused his vessel to tilt and submerge, allowing the diesel fuel to leak into the river, a security official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the barge was unloaded to refloat it.