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Article Restricted

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Marine pollution bulletin

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On 26 October, 1977, the tanker Tsesis grounded in the Swedish archipelago, 65 km south of Stockholm (northern Baltic proper, 59°N, 18°E). The Tsesis carried 17575 t of No. 5 fuel oil. The total spill was estimated as being somewhat more than 1000 t, of which about 600–700 t were recovered, thus leaving about 300 t in the environment. The spill occurred only about 5 km east of the Askö Laboratory, a marine ecological station, which made a relatively fast sampling response possible. The effects on the pelagic ecosystem were studied for 1 month following the spill. Severe effects were recorded only in the immediate vicinity of the wreck where zooplankton biomass declined substantially during the first few days after the spill. Within 5 days the zooplankton biomass was re-established. Oil contamination of zooplankton was recorded for over 3 weeks. It is suggested that an increased phytoplankton biomass and primary production in the impacted area was due to decreased zooplankton grazing rates. Increased bacterial numbers and the oil degradation pattern indicated a rapid bacterial degradation of hydrocarbons in the water column. Sediment traps positioned in the area demonstrated the importance of sedimentation as a pathway for removal of oil from the water column. During the second week after the spill, 0.7% of sedimented material was petroleum hydrocarbons. Using sediment trap data, a total sedimentation of 30–60 t of oil was estimated in the impacted area (42 km2). This corresponds to 10–15% of the unrecovered oil.