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Archive for the ‘Sunshine Coast’ Category

Australia hit by another man-made disaster

Posted by feww on March 13, 2009

Container ship leaked much more oil off Queensland coast than originally reported

Parts of Australia’s northeast coast of Queensland was declared a disaster area Friday after a massive oil spill from a damaged cargo ship, The Pacific Adventurer, contaminated numerous beaches.


Oil escapes: divers discovered further damage in the ship’s hull (Greens/Senator Bob Brown, via Abc News Au).

“Queensland state Premier Anna Bligh declared Moreton Island, Bribie Island and southern parts of the Sunshine Coast as disaster zones after a ship lost more than 30 tons of fuel when its hull was pierced by a container washed overboard.” A report said.

“It may well be the worst environmental disaster Queensland has ever seen,” Bligh told Australian Associated Press. “The ship was capable of carrying 100 tons of oil and the spill was now much larger than initial reports indicated.”

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Map of Australia with a blow-up of southeast Queensland and the  Sunshine Coast. The Sunshine Coast has a population of about 290,000 with an additional 50,000 visitors and seasonal workers.

“At least 60 kilometers (37 miles) of beach coastline had been covered by the slick, which came from the Hong Kong-flagged ship Pacific Adventurer after it was damaged on Tuesday in heavy seas generated by tropical cyclone Hamish.” The report said.

“If there is any grounds for prosecution of this ship and its owners, we will not hesitate to take that action. We will also be pursuing them for compensation as this is going to be a very big clean-up cost,” Bligh said.

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Blackened sandy beach near Cape Moreton on Moreton Island, Queensland. Photo: AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Ship owner Swire Shipping had previously stated that  no more than 42,000 liters of oil escaped from the ship; however, they now say substantially more oil was spilled.

Popular tourist resorts including the coastal towns of Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine coast, have been affected by the large spill.

tire-tracks-on-beach-near-cape-moreton-on-moreton-island-queensland
Tire tracks seen near  Queensland. Photo: EPA.
Image may be subject to copyright.

“It’s certainly bigger than the first reports I was getting in terms of the extent of it and the magnitude of what’s impacting our beaches,” Sunshine Coast Council Environment Manager Stephen Skull said.

Environmental Protection Agency, which has closed access to a number of beaches and camping grounds in the area,  said the spill had already affected dozens of  seabirds and turtles.

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Disaster zone: Warana beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.  Photo: EPA. Image may be subject to copyright.

Meanwhile, the search is on for 31 containers of ammonium nitrate, used for making explosives and fertilizer, which were lost from the ship near Brisbane, Queensland’s regional capital.

“If the containers, which have 620 tons of ammonium nitrate, leak it could cause major algae blooms which would choke marine life in Moreton Bay,” say marine scientists.

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Posted in Bribie Island, disaster zone, environmental disaster, Sunshine Coast, The Pacific Adventurer | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »