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Tanker that sank off Tunisia was empty

The sunken Xelo vessel off the Gulf of Gabes   -  
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Tunisian authorities announced on Friday that the oil tanker that sank last weekend in its territorial waters was empty.

The Equatorial Guinea-flagged tanker was initially thought to be carrying around 750 tonnes of fuel when it sank between Egypt and Malta last Saturday.

"We were surprised to see that the four tanks were filled with sea water. There is not a drop of diesel". (...) "The ship, Xelo, which sank in the Gulf of Gabes does not represent an environmental threat at this time on the Gulf of Gabes", clarified Captain Mazeri Letayef, captain of the Tunisian Navy.

Tunisian authorities have opened an investigation to determine what caused the incident.

The ministry, however, failed to explain the confusion behind the original statement.

The ship's seven crew members are banned from leaving the country for two weeks pending the outcome of the probe.

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