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Sunken Russian Tanker Could Pose Ecological Risk

23 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- An official says two Russian ships that sank during World War II have been located in the Baltic Sea, including an oil tanker that could pose an ecological risk.

The head of the search operation, Andrei Lukoshkov, said the tanker "N12" poses a risk, since it is carrying oil that still constitutes a danger to the environment even 60 years after the vessel sank.

Lukoshkov, who heads a mission charged with establishing a list of ships that sank in the Baltic, said the tanker lays in 65 meters of water in an area that was not marked on maritime maps but was near the city of Kronshtadt, in a zone used by Russian submarines for exercises.

His group has so far listed around 5,000 ships and planes lying at the bottom of the Baltic.