MSC Ilona moved away for repairs to prevent more spills The container ship that leaked 1,200 tonnes of oil after a collision south of Hong Kong last week has been towed to a less environmentally sensitive site, while the ship that crashed into it has been seized by authorities. A Ministry of Communications official said the removal of the German-registered MSC Ilona marked 'an important step towards the end of the massive cleanup' of China's largest oil spill. The MSC Ilona, which may still be leaking, will be repaired. The official refused to say where it had been taken. The official confirmed that Guangdong authorities had seized the Panamanian-registered Hyundai Advance, which hit the German ship last Tuesday. Guangdong Maritime Court officials were quoted by the Southern Daily as saying the owner of the Hyundai Advance had been asked to pay a US$12 million guarantee within 30 days. The guarantee was expected to cover compensation for damage to the environment and the fishing industry, cleanup costs and repairs to the MSC Ilona. 'We have achieved the desired results - preventing the slick from getting to local shores and lowering economic losses by cleaning up the oil as soon as possible,' the Ministry of Communications official said in Beijing. A spokesman for Hong Kong's Marine Department said the oil was drifting away from Hong Kong. The Guangdong Maritime Safety Department yesterday declined to release any information on the oil spill, citing a ban imposed by the Ministry of Communications. A spokesman for Greenpeace Hong Kong, Martin Baker, criticised the authorities' refusal to release more information on the oil spill. 'We are concerned about how this will turn out,' he said. 'There has not been much first-hand information in the media. I find it very strange, as an outsider, that there is not more concern in Hong Kong. 'Regardless of whether any damage is imminent, it is close enough [to Hong Kong waters].' He added it was strange that Guangdong authorities had denied receiving an offer of assistance from the Hong Kong Marine Department.