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Bad weather hampers oil cleanup

Monday, 27 April 2015 4:45 p.m.

 

Rain and high winds are creating problems for oil spill responders dealing with a heavy fuel oil spill in Tauranga Harbour.

The oil spill occurred earlier today when a ship was bunkering at the Port of Tauranga. An oil slick was spotted by Bridge Marina staff who contacted Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline and the Port.

Regional Council oil spill On Scene Commander Adrian Heays said severe weather was hampering oil retrieval. Some booms were proving ineffective in the high winds and heavy seas, so staff were using the best booms for the conditions.

It appeared an oil line on a berthed ship had leaked and oil spilled near berths further along. Once the spill was spotted bunkering was stopped, and responders were attempting to get under the wharf to fix the leak.

“At this stage we don’t have any idea how much oil was lost. This means there could be oil coming ashore on beaches, and on boats,” he said.

“We would appreciate people who spot oil on their boat or on beaches to contact the Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline on 0800 884 883 so we can determine where the oil is spreading to.”

He said the spill occurred on an incoming tide, and the tide had now turned, which could mean the oil would be taken out to sea. So far four streams had been spotted heading towards the railway bridge. However conditions were bad and cleaning up the spill was proving difficult.

“We have staff working on it, and have notified Maritime New Zealand.”

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