Smeared sea bird among ca­su­al­ties

Oil spill mars man­groves

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

A SEA bird cov­ered in oil has been found on a beach north of Townsville as author­i­ties tasked with clean­ing up a large spill con­firm it has now spread into man­groves.

About 117 lo­cal and State Gov­ern­ment work­ers con­tin­ued the shore­line clean- up at For­rest Beach, Hinch­in­brook Is­land, Tay­lors Beach and Palm Is­land, where new oil patches were dis­cov­ered on trees yesterday.

Mar­itime Safety Queens­land is co- or­di­nat­ing the op­er­a­tion from its Townsville head­quar­ters with as­sis­tance from the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity, the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Queens­land Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice, Road­Tek and var­i­ous coun­cil of­fi­cers.

GBRMPA oper­a­tions sup­port man­ager Mark Read said a brown booby sea bird af­fec- ted by oil was found on For­rest Beach yesterday and brought to Townsville for tests.

“We’ve got peo­ple out on the beaches hav­ing a look at the en­vi­ron­ment just try­ing to see where the oil is but also to give us some idea about the po­ten­tial im­pacts on the ecosys­tems,” Mr Read said.

“A mem­ber of the public spot­ted the bird and wildlife of­fi­cers were able to catch it.

“We will keep that un­der ob­ser­va­tion for about seven days be­fore we re­lease it back into the wild.”

Mr Read said he be­lieved most of the oil had washed up on beaches, but new patches had been found in man­groves on Palm Is­land.

“A clean- up crew over there are wip­ing up the man­groves and get­ting it out of the ecosys­tem,” he said.

“We are lucky in the fact that the oil has been float­ing around in the ocean for over a week and it is con­sid­ered weath­ered so it doesn’t have a lot of the chem­i­cals it would have if it were fresh.”

Townsville’s re­gional har­bour master Frank D’Souza said the clean up would be ex­tended with more oil found on other beaches yesterday.

“Most of Hinch­in­brook Is­land is well un­der way and we hope to have that pretty much cleaned up and in good con­di­tion by the end of the week,” he said.

“We have just looked at Bronte Beach ... and it does have a bit of oil so we will put some peo­ple on it ( to­day) along with Shep­herd Bay on Hinch­in­brook Is­land.”

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