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Major Ecological Disaster Underway in Timor Sea

Posted by feww on September 3, 2009

UPDATE: Australia Oil Well on Fire

Australian Oil Slick – Satellite Images


Australian Oil Disaster May Get a Lot Worse

A leaking offshore Australian oil well will probably spill crude  oil into the Timor Sea for the next two months before it can be plugged, according to the Rig operator PTTEP Australasia.

The Montara Well Head Platform, West Atlas oil rig,  has been leaking an estimated 400 tons  (470,000 liters) of oil each day since August 21.

Oil Slick in the Timor Sea

Images acquired August 30, 2009

An oil well in the Timor Sea northwest of Australia has been leaking for more than a week. Operators continue to wait for a new rig to be brought to the site so that they can drill a relief well and cap the leaking one. This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on August 30, 2009, shows the Timor Sea and what are probably oil slicks about 250 kilometers northwest of Western Australia.

In this image, captured on August 30, 2009, the dark patches in the water at the eastern edge of the sunglint are likely oil slicks; they are similar in appearance to other slicks that have been detected in MODIS images, and they are in the correct location (near the leaking oil rig).

The slicks are located about 250 kilometers northwest of the Western Australia town of Truscott. The long distance from land is another indicator that these are oil slicks.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey, with input from Chuanmin Hu, Institute for Marine Remote Sensing at the University of South Florida. [Edited by FEWW]

Meanwhile, we found these images:

2009-September-Montara1 1015
1 September 2009. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) uses NASA satellite images to displays the area affected by the oil slick, which allegedly remains 180 km off shore from the WA coast. The area under observation spans about 25 nautical miles (nm) x 70 nm (46 km x 130km). Click on the image to enlarge.

oil spill australia -watoday
The West Atlas oil rig is thought to have been leaking about 470,000 litres of oil a day since an accident caused the rig’s evacuation on August 21. [Source: WAToday. August 30, 2009. Image may be subject to copyright.]

The above diagram by AMSA provides an overview of the behavior of the oil slick. Click on the image to enlarge.

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7 Responses to “Major Ecological Disaster Underway in Timor Sea”

  1. NFL said

    Ever heard of the term eco-nazis? AND NO I do NOT work for the government.

    How dare you spoil the fun for the rest of us?

    Why should we be concerned about global warming, a big hoax I tell you, or rising sea levels? Get a frigging boat buddy, and don’t worry me with your problems.

    Take this sea pollution nonsense: Acidic waters bleaching the useless coral reefs? Mercury contamination? Oil Spills?

    If the Lord didn’t like oil slicks, he would have only supplied us with solid fuels like coal! And he puts the mercury in our tuna for a good reason, too.

    Killing the fish? ha ha ha ha, there are billions of fish in the sea, how could you kill all of them. Anytime you want fish and can’t find one in the sea, go to McDonald’s. There’ll always be fish in the buns waiting for ya!

    The half full half empty thing is what applies here. Of the nearly 7 billion world population far less than a half are starving or have no access to clean water. Which means far more than a half are neither starving nor face water shortage issues.

    And whose fault is that?

    Are they now gonna point an accusing finger at us and say WE are taking their food and fuel and dumping our dirt on them?

  2. innocent said

    your report is great,please send more information on the effect,and prevention of ecological disaster to my e-mail address

  3. John Amos said

    Check out the latest satellite images of this ongoing spill at the SkyTruth blog and gallery.

    • feww said

      Terrible! Wholly unacceptable!
      Have been monitoring the growing disaster on MODIS “real-time” at 250m res. It’s like watching blood gushing out of your favorite pet as a wild animal tears through her guts.

  4. feww said

    How Much Oil Pollution Is Too Much?

  5. feww said

    Environment laws suspended to halt slick

    The Federal Government has suspended the environmental approvals process in order to fast track efforts to stop the leak at the West Atlas oil rig.

    Crude oil and gas have been flowing into the Timor Sea for more than a fortnight.


    Oil slick moving closer to coast

    A massive oil slick in the Timor Sea, about 700 kilometres from Darwin, is moving closer to the Australian coast.

    Oil has been spewing from the West Atlas drill rig for a fortnight and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says the slick is now 170 kilometres from shore.

    The slick has now spread over 6,000 square kilometres of ocean and there appears to be evidence that the oil is killing marine life.


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