OIL WASHES ON COAST
Vehicles banned from worst- hit stretches of coast
OIL has washed on to pristine North Queensland beaches, creating an unsightly mess.
A clean- up started yesterday to remove the oil, believed to be from a spill first noticed near Cape Upstart last week.
Forrest Beach, Hinchinbrook Island, Taylors Beach, Lucinda and the Palm Islands group were affected.
A MASSIVE clean- up effort is under way after oil believed to be from a spill near Cape Upstart washed on to the North Queensland coastline.
Maritime Safety Queensland staff have been deployed to clean up oil patties at Forrest Beach, Mulligan Bay at Hinchinbrook Island, Taylors Beach, Lucinda and the Palm Island group.
A Transport and Main Roads spokesman said the department “strongly believed” the oil had come from a spill that was spotted near Cape Upstart by a fisherman on July 17, as the location matched tidal mapping and tracking.
“Investigations into the source of the oil are continuing,” he said.
“Due to the difficulty accessing some locations, it’s expected the shoreline clean- up may run for several days.”
The spokesman said they had received no reports of the oil causing distress to wildlife.
The oil spill was spotted on the Great Barrier Reef 33km north- northeast of Cape Upstart, between Ayr and Bowen, and was estimated to be 800m in diameter.
Samples have been taken from ships that had passed through the area in the hope of finding a chemical match.
Police barriers were erected at the Hinchinbrook beaches to keep crowds away from the oil.
Halifax police Sergeant John Tantalo said he had blocked vehicle access to the beach and he was urging people to steer clear of the oil.
“I’ve been getting the message out that there is a clean- up operation in place,’’ he said.
“There have been some locals fairly eager to start cleaning it all up and while they have good intentions, it should be left to the experts.”
Tourist Margot Lindner from Sydney said the oil was an eyesore.
“I have come to visit Lucinda to see what it has to hold and I found this oil on the beach which is unpleasant ... I am not impressed,” she said.
Anyone who finds unfamiliar material on the beach should avoid making any contact with it and report the sighting to the GBRMPA pollution reporting hotline on 0427 969 384.
BLACK SPOT: Sydneysider Margot Lindner inspects the oil washed up on Lucinda beach.