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26-Year-Old Wreck Releases Palm Oil onto UK Shores

Authorities have warned beachgoers along the western coast of England to stay clear of a mysterious yellow substance that has washed up on shore over the course of the past week. The UK Coastguard says that it is likely to be partially decayed palm oil, which may be deadly to dogs if ingested. For now, the beaches remain open, and labs are testing the substance to confirm its identity.

"If it turns out to be harmless, great, but if it's palm oil dogs could end up very ill, and death is a possibility," said Fleetwood Coastguard station officer Mark Sumner, speaking to the Blackpool Gazette.

The source of the substance is believed to be the wreck of the product tanker Kimya. In January 1991, the Kimya was caught in a severe storm in the Irish Sea, about 15 nm southwest of Holyhead; she radioed a mayday and reported a list of 45 degrees, and she capsized within 15 minutes of the call. When she sank, she took her load of palm oil to the bottom. Rescuers were only able to save two members of her 12-man crew.

The Kimya was identified as the source of another palm oil spill that came ashore in Anglesey in March. The recent severe storms over the UK – Storm Aileen, Storm Brian and ex-hurricane Ophelia – may have moved the wreck again and dislodged some of its cargo.

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