Costa Rica government issues toxic spill alert
Costa Rica has declared an emergency zone along about 100km (60 miles) of the country's Pacific coastline, after a ship full of toxic chemicals sank.
The vessel went down in heavy seas off the tourist town of Puntarenas.
It was carrying almost 200 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in the manufacture of fertilisers and explosives.
The government has asked people in the area to avoid swimming and fishing until tests have been done.
The main Pacific port of Puerto Caldera has also been affected by the spillage.
A spokesman for Costa Rica's Emergency Commission said the government did not know what the impact would be yet in the emergency zone.
Reinaldo Carballo said the measure was preventive "because of the potential impact ammonium nitrate could have on human health".
He said it was important to determine whether the chemical had remained in the zone or if it had been in contact with the sea water, whether it had dissolved and had been taken out to sea on the tide.
Costa Rica has the largest number of foreign tourists in Central America and is a popular destination for nature and eco-tourism because of it's pristine beaches, tropical forests and large nature reservations and parks.