Sea birds grounded in oil spill

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY

A SEC­OND oil- cov­ered bird has been found off the North Queens­land coast as author­i­ties work to have beaches af­fected by a spill on the Great Bar­rier Reef re­opened.

A mem­ber of the public found a brown booby near John Brewer Reef, north­west of Palm Is­land, last Fri­day but it was only put into the care of author­i­ties yesterday.

Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity oper­a­tions man­ager Mark Read said it fol­lowed the col­lec­tion of another brown boobyfrom For­rest Beach on Tues­day.

“The bird from For­rest Beach has been as­sessed and is be­ing watched,” he said.

“The sec­ond bird has also been as­sessed and it ap­pears to be slightly worse off than the first one but it is prob­a­bly a case where a cou­ple of days of good care … it’s likely to make a full re­cov­ery.”

An 800m oil spill about 10 nau­ti­cal miles off Cape Up- start, was re­ported to Townsville’s Coast Guard about 7am on July 17, prompt­ing a mas­sive clean- up.

Clean- up work­ers on Tay­lors Beach yesterday found a dead ju­ve­nile green tur­tle. It was not known if oil con­trib­uted to its death.

Townsville re­gional har­bour master Frank D’Souza said about 120 lo­cal and state gov­ern­ment staff con­tin­ued shore­line work from Bronte Beach to the north­ern tip of Hinch­in­brook Is­land as well Palm Is­land yesterday as some beaches al­ready cleaned reoiled overnight.

But Mr D’Souza said that work would to be wound back by the week­end to give crews a rest when it is hoped all af­fected beaches will be re­opened.

Any­one who finds un­fa­mil­iar ma­te­rial on the beach should avoid mak­ing any con­tact with it and call the pol­lu­tion re­port­ing hot­line on 0427 969 384.

In­jured or dead an­i­mals can be re­ported on 1300 264 625.

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