A great deal of hard work was successfully completed yesterday. Containment of the oil has been successful and we are progressing with the cleanup.
A helicopter is up again this morning to check any movement of oil overnight (movement is not expected as bad weather on Monday meant most oil had been blown above the high tide mark). Iwi and Regional Council staff are completing site visits this morning, and a shoreline team is assessing if oil has appeared overnight, but we are not expecting to find any.
Coastal Chair Chris Battershill, the Regional On-Scene Commander and iwi representatives are meeting on-site this morning to agree on a collaborative approach for clean-up at Motuopuhi (Rat) Island. Science staff are continuing sampling across all affected areas.
Oil has been washed up high on the foreshore at Maungatapu covering about 300 metres of the beach north east of Turret Road. There are other smaller areas of oil at Motuopuhi Island. Most is trapped in vegetation, and is being removed as quickly as possible. A sucker truck is continuing to remove oil from around the Bridge marina.
A second oiled shag was found yesterday and had to be euthanised, and several other lightly oiled birds were spotted but not caught. These birds will be left to clean themselves as the small amount of oil is not likely to harm them. The Mauao Wildlife Trust’s volunteers checked penguins on Mauao and Motoriki (Leisure Island) at 6pm last night and found no signs of oiled birds. They will check the penguin sites for the next two nights.
Waste is being stored in sealed skips before being assessed at Te Maunga and disposed of at the specialist Hampton Downs facility in the Waikato.
Boaties are reminded not to clean their boats or gear with any aggressive chemicals as this may cause more contamination. Please contact your marina operator for advice.
The public have been asked to stay away from oil wash-up areas. Oil slicks or oiled vessels should be reported to the Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline, phone 0800 884 883, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mobil has set up an 0800 number for boaties wanting advice – 0800 895 011. Any oiled wildlife found should be reported to DOC 0800 362 468 (0800 DOC HOT). Mobil has accepted full responsibility for the spill.
Background: An oil slick was spotted at approximately midday on Monday by Bridge Marina staff who contacted Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline and the Port. Heavy fuel oil had leaked from a pipe during fuel bunkering (transfer of fuel from a tank to ship). Bunkering was stopped immediately when the spill was noticed. The exact amount of oil lost is yet to be determined.
All Regional Council maritime staff are trained oil spill responders. Staff deployed absorbent booms at the spill site on Monday to contain the oil as much as possible but poor weather conditions made oil retrieval efforts impractical until yesterday.