The German shipping firm, Reederei Erwin Strahlmann, has begun removing 35 tonnes of fuel from their stricken cargo vessel which ran aground in rough seas near Colwyn Bay in North Wales on Tuesday.

Two lifeboats and Royal Navy and RAF helicopters were involved in the rescue operation of the seven Polish members in the crew.

A "small quantity" of oil has leaked out of the MV carrier after it got into difficulties and struck rocks but the impact is expected to be minimal, said the Environment Agency Wales.

It is understood that 7,000 litres leaked from the ship's total cargo of 24,000 litres. The vessel was initially thought to be carrying 40,000 litres. As the weather was much calmer on Thursday, a team of salvage experts began preparing on the recovery of fuel from the vessel.

A statement from the agency said: "As much of the escaping gas oil is likely to evaporate and be dispersed by the sea, its environment impact is expected to be minimal at this stage.

Officers have also been patrolling the beaches on either side of the incident checking for signs of pollution. So far, no traces of pollution on the beaches have been found," reported Walesonline.

Earlier, salvage operation spokesperson Gareth Pritchard said: "Specialists are in place and hope to start work very soon and we are asking the public to keep a safe distance from the scene. There will also be a number of specialist vehicles, equipment and as safety remains our priority we are asking for the public's continued patience and cooperation so we can bring this matter to a speedy and safe conclusion," according to The Guardian.

The owners have declared it a "total constructive loss", adding that tenders had been invited to undertake a wreck removal. They said that contractors have been appointed to work round-the- clock to remove the fuel.

A company statement on Thursday night said: "The company's response team will pump fuel to the shore, to holding tanks. The work will continue on a round-the clock basis until all pumpable fuel is recovered. The aim is to complete the pumping operation during the holiday weekend," reported the Belfast Telegraph. "The amount of gasoil on board is approximately equivalent to the capacity of two road tankers. Weather conditions on site are good and are expected to remain favourable for the next few days."

The shipping firm said that the injured crew members were expected to be repatriated home as soon as possible.