Water purification stations along the river Nile in southern Egypt have been sealed off to prevent contamination from a large oil spill.

The accident involved diesel oil leaking from a barge docked in Aswan, downstream from the historic city of Luxor and 1,100 km from Cairo. The barge's captain claimed that the vessel, along with its 110-ton cargo, capsized due to a drop in water levels.

As Egypt obtains much of its drinking water from the Nile, fears for its purity were voiced immediately. Luxor officials have estimated that the slick is up to 2 km long but they believe it is decreasing in size due to surrounding areas of dense vegetation in the river which are causing the slick to fragment. As a precautionary measure water samples will be tested as the spill approaches Luxor.