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Small oil spill at Port of Tauranga

Tuesday, 19 August 2014 5:00 p.m.

A small amount of oil spilled during a bunkering incident at the Port of Tauranga late this morning, but very little oil reached the water.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Senior Pollution Prevention Officer Adrian Heays said the leak came from a vessel, the Sea Star Emperor, as it neared the end of refuelling, and was discovered at 11.30am. 

Up to 20 litres of heavy fuel oil was spilled, but most was collected in the ‘keep-safe’ area around the bunkering connection, and only about one litre went into the water below the connection at Berth 11. 

“The failure occurred at the coupling connection to the Port of Tauranga fuel lines. The hose, coupling and the connection are being examined and will not be reused until the cause is determined,” Mr Heays said. 

The exact cause is unknown and is being investigated by SGS/Mobil. The company immediately put their oil spill management procedures into action, deploying sorbent booms and calling the Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline.  

Pollution Prevention officers provided response equipment and staff, and a boat was on the water within the hour, Mr Heays said. 

“We found only oil sheen, and prop-washing was used to disperse this.”

Tauranga Harbour lowres