TUNIS, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Tunisian President Kais Saied on Sunday directed the navy to control the environmental impact from a sunken fuel ship to prevent possible disasters, according to a statement by the Defense Ministry.
"All available means will be harnessed, in coordination and consultation with authorities and regional committees to confront disasters in order to prevent the leakage of hydrocarbons into the sea," the ministry statement said.
A number of countries have expressed their desire to provide assistance to contain the damage, it added.
A merchant ship carrying about 750 tonnes of fuel sank off the Gabes coast in southeastern Tunisia on Friday evening, with all seven crew members on board rescued.
The Equatorial Guinea-flagged vessel heading from Egypt to Malta requested entry to Tunisian waters over bad weather, when its crew sent a distress call seven miles (11 km) away from the Gabes coast saying the water seeped into the engine room to a depth of two meters. ■