No oil spill found but ves­sels to be tested

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS MCMA­HON

AUTHOR­I­TIES have failed to find any trace of oil af­ter a fish­er­man re­ported an 800m spill on the Great Bar­rier Reef south of Townsville on Fri­day.

The Aus­tralian Mar­itime Safety Au­thor­ity spent the week­end search­ing for the spill, be­lieved to be 33km north- north­east of Cape Up­start, be­tween Ayr and Bowen.

Trans­port and Main Roads said the air and sea search re­vealed no sign of oil.

“Ex­ten­sive air and sea sur­veil­lance … has found no ev­i­dence of oil sheen or patches of oil,” a spokesman said.

“There is also no ev­i­dence of any im­pact to wildlife.”

The of­fi­cial said sam­ples had been taken from five ships and the oth­ers also will be tested for a chem­i­cal match.

The depart­ment will also check the fore­shore for ev­i­dence of oil and also for im­pacted wildlife dur­ing the week.

Sam­ples taken from tran­sit­ing ves­sels will be an­a­lysed dur­ing the com­ing weeks.

The last thing author­i­ties need is an oil spill on the World Her­itage- listed Reef so soon af­ter UNESCO in­ves­ti­gated Aus­tralia’s lack of care for the en­vi­ron­men­tal icon.

Aus­tralian Marine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety spokes­woman Felic­ity Wishart said the spill scare showed how vul­ner­a­ble the World Her­itage area was to dam­age from ship­ping.

“The re­gion is a nurs­ery for hump­back whales dur­ing win­ter and there are im­por­tant tur­tle nest­ing beaches along the coast­line,” she said.

“We are re­minded that it only takes one ves­sel to have an ac­ci­dent to cause ir­repara­ble dam­age to the reef and its marine life.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.