However, the Irish coastguard is now more optimistic that such a crisis will be averted, reports the Irish Times.

Reports earlier this month indicated that the slick, which was lost by a Russian supply tanker during a fuel transfer at sea operation, is between 4.5-5km.

The slick is moving eastwards and was approximately 30-40 miles off the coast on February 14th.

It is expected to continue to disperse, with some of the oil expected to into the water column.

Around 300 tonnes of oil are thought to have been deposited onto the sea’s surface, but the Russian Naval Attache could not confirm that it had resulted from its refuelling operations.

The Coast Guard has convened an inter-governmental group to monitor and advise on the current situation.

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