Friday, October 7, 2011

oil off Tauranga

We have a oil spill disaster happening now off Tauranga, where a container ship has ran aground and "haemorrhaging oil into the sea off Tauranga." A 5km oil slick has already killed wildlife, they tried a dispersant last night but it didn't work.The ship is carrying hazadous substances and the weather is due to get messy. This ship has 1700 tonnes of heavy oil on board.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) pollution response service manager Andrew Berry told Radio New Zealand he was "very worried'' about the threat to the environment posed by the slick. "It has the potential to be very, very serious indeed, simply because of the age of the ship, the damage that she's sustained and the 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil on board.''
"We stand on the brink of disaster if the salvage goes wrong," said Shane Wasik, NZ Underwater Association president and a local diver.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce said the priority now was to remove the oil from the ship as quickly as possible. "The difficulty is that the situation is deteriorating and according to the advice I've received, there's the possibility it could break up and sink - it's certainly serious what's going on there," he told the Herald last night. "(Emergency response teams) are certainly moving as fast as they can - it's been a bit frustrating for everybody in terms of getting the right equipment to achieve the removal of the oil and containers."

This is a test case for the response teams and if this turns into more of an environmental danger it will be clear that we have little defence against these events - and they want more drilling for oil and more potential disasters. Sadly we will have to get expert at cleaning up oil spills and we will have to learn how to decontaminate birds and dispose of dead fish and animals, and we will have to learn how to clean oil out of sand and wetlands and of course, the open water. Yes, unless we stop their exploitation we will have to learn many new skills.

1 comment:

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marty,
From what I already understand about our Maritime NZ Pollution Service Management, based on their economic resources, staffing levels, and equipment we will be lucky to not have all 1700 tonnes of heavy oil in those seas very soon. And this is a FINITE quanity of oil Berry is so very worried about, not the potential endlessly gushing torrent and undersea drilling disaster could result in, i.e. the Gulf of Mexico. We need to Listen to what the moana is trying to tell us. At our own peril and the peril of our children's futures. Kia kaha.