Monday, October 10, 2011

'Worst ever environmental disaster' in New Zealand

Pictureque coast shore in Tauranga likened to this one at Pt Chevalier in Auckland is facing an environmental disaster.






Photo from Green peace.




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Today, I received an email from Green peace.
Hi Ann,

You've no doubt been watching in horror as the container ship Rena has continued to leak oil off the beautiful and fragile Bay of Plenty coastline.

Oiled seabirds have already been found dead close to the Rena, and there are grave fears for many of the area's marine species and sensitive ecology.

As I write this, reports have come in that the oil has already reached the shore.

Only a fraction of the oil on board the Rena has been released into the sea so far, and it's already caused a toxic 5 km slick. Bad weather is now approaching so the situation could get much worse.

The response so far has been slow and indecisive consisting mainly of spraying chemicals on the oil from a helicopter. The chemical "dispersant" being used, Corexit 9500, was used in the Gulf of Mexico last year and is known to be toxic to wildlife and humans. The fact is dispersants like Corexit don't clean up an oil spill, nothing can. They only put it out of sight and often add to the harm by increasing the overall toxic load that marine life is exposed to.

Despite the best efforts of those on the front line, New Zealand is simply not prepared for a disaster like this.

It should be seen as a bright red warning as John key's Government opens up new frontiers of oil drilling in New Zealand waters. Drilling at depths similar to the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico could begin as soon as next summer.

But if we can't control the spill from the Rena, then we have no chance at all of containing a deep water oil drilling disaster.

It's time to draw a line in the sand and say no to deep sea oil drilling.

80,000 people have already signed our 'No Deep Sea Oil Petition - Help push that up to 100.000 before the election. Share it on Facebook, email your friends and family, download a copy for work or school.

Nick Young and the whole crew at Greenpeace

PS. Greenpeace has offered our boats, boat drivers and volunteers to the Maritime Safety Authority, which is co-ordinating the response to the spill. For anyone in the area wanting to help, Maritime New Zealand is advising people not to try and work independently, but to call 0800 645 774, or 0800 333 771 to report oiled wildlife. The oil is highly toxic so should be avoided.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10758195

A massive oil spill from the stricken cargo ship off the coast of Tauranga has become New Zealand's worst ever maritime environmental disaster, the Government says.

Environment Minister Nick Smith this afternoon said oil had been pouring out of the Rena at "fivefold" the rate it had in the days after the ship grounded on Astrolabe Reef.

He said significant amounts of oil would start washing up on beaches around Mt Maunganui from tomorrow and into the coming weeks.

Environmental response coordinator Nick Quinn said oil spills arriving from tomorrow would be much more significant than the clumps that washed ashore earlier this week.

He warned residents to prepare for weeks of cleanup work on beaches in the area around Tauranga.

The "tragic" spill was inevitable since the Rena grounded carrying 1700 tonnes of oil at 2:20am last Wednesday, said Mr Smith.

He promised the Government would hold those who were responsible for the grounding to account.

Transport Minister Stephen Joyce said the cost of the Rena cleanup had already risen to millions of dollars.

Much of that cost would be borne by the vessel owners under maritime law, but there would be a cost to the New Zealand Government, he said.

He added that it was a high risk situation.

14 comments:

Ginny said...

This is horrible! I haven't watched the news in awhile, so didn't know about it.

Jo said...

How aweful, Ann, I don't watch the news but my husband,who reads News24, told me about it.

Martha Z said...

I've heard about this. I sure hope they can get the oil off the ship before anymore of it is spilled. New Zealand beaches and coast are so lovely I would hate to see them or any coastal areas covered with oil.

Genie said...

I was unaware of this awful situation. It is heartbreaking. When are people going to learn this is the ONLY earth they have and to treasure it and take care of it. It breaks my heart to read things like this. Thanks for bringing to our attention, Ann. genie

J Bar said...

That's terrible. Quite a disaster.

eileeninmd said...

I just heard about this on the news. It sounds awful. I really feel sorry for the birds and wildlife.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots of picturesque sea shore.

Arija said...

Ships seem to use the sea as a septic tank. When a spill occurs, nothing is done straight away, they seem to hope it will just go away. Oil well in the sea blow their tops and are not plugged for years with millions of barrels of crude just gushing into the sea.

Years ago we were in Kalamatta in Greece and the beautiful beach was littered with oil pats like cowpats in a dairy farmer's paddock.

The consequences for sea creatures and birds are enormous. I really feel for your beautiful Bay.

Roberto Machado Alves said...

Great shots and very interesting text.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I knew nothing about this terrible situtation. How awful. Greenpeace does good work, I hope they are able to accomoplish something here.

Ann said...

Rena split into two, january 2012,

Ann said...

It has split into two, almost sunk completely and littering the sea and beach with containers and food stuff.

Annie Hall said...

I just read a plausible novel called The Prophesy Gene and the main characters uncover a number of unintended genetic mutations as a result of the 1980s Aral Sea environmental disaster in Central Asia and the accidental release of a genetically modified strain of anthrax. Some people eat oxen that have grazed on vegetation that has absorbed the anthrax (since soil is where anthrax naturally occurs) and their digestive systems irreparably stop working, causing them to suffer a slow, painful death. They also uncover fungus and viruses hidden in a cave in Northern Canada. They know that they could be released into the air shortly and cause a pandemic, but they also discover that the fungus consumes carbon dioxide and water and releases hydrocarbons as its waste product, effectively reducing global warming. Unfortunately, scientists don’t realize this and will probably destroy the fungus because they don’t understand it. The book is by Stuart Schooler. His website is www.stuartschooler.com and there is a link to a blog and a YouTube video (http://vimeo.com/53365895).

Annie Hall said...

I just read a plausible novel called The Prophesy Gene and the main characters uncover a number of unintended genetic mutations as a result of the 1980s Aral Sea environmental disaster in Central Asia and the accidental release of a genetically modified strain of anthrax. Some people eat oxen that have grazed on vegetation that has absorbed the anthrax (since soil is where anthrax naturally occurs) and their digestive systems irreparably stop working, causing them to suffer a slow, painful death. They also uncover fungus and viruses hidden in a cave in Northern Canada. They know that they could be released into the air shortly and cause a pandemic, but they also discover that the fungus consumes carbon dioxide and water and releases hydrocarbons as its waste product, effectively reducing global warming. Unfortunately, scientists don’t realize this and will probably destroy the fungus because they don’t understand it. The book is by Stuart Schooler. His website is www.stuartschooler.com and there is a link to a blog and a YouTube video (http://vimeo.com/53365895).