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Fire reported on leaking offshore rig

Nov. 1, 2009 at 1:07 AM

PERTH, Australia, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- A fire began Sunday on an oil rig that has been leaking into the Timor Sea off Western Australia for 10 weeks, the company that owns the rig said.

PTTEP Australasia released a statement saying the fire broke out as heavy mud was being pumped into the hole in an effort to stop the leak, NineMSN reported. The company said both the rig and the Montara well head platform were burning.

No injuries were reported. PTTEP said all non-essential workers were being evacuated.

A well about 120 miles off the Kimberly Coast began leaking in late August. This week, the federal government released the results of a survey by James Watson of the University of Queensland.

Watson said the impact so far on aquatic life appeared minor, with few dead animals found in the area. But he said the long-term effect of the spill could be far worse and recommended monitoring of the area, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

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