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Minor diesel spill in harbour

14 Mar 2012

Minor diesel spill in harbour

A minor diesel spill was reported in Gisborne harbour yesterday (Tuesday 13 March). Council’s Marine Oil Spill response team attended to it immediately. Department of Conservation and local iwi have been informed.

It is a relatively small amount – less than 10 litres – but diesel is quite difficult to manage, says regional on-scene commander Louise Bennett. “Small amounts of diesel are difficult to pick up with sorbent booms. We had the pilot boat Turanganui agitating the water for an hour this morning and this afternoon to help the diesel disperse and evaporate. The sun warming up the water has helped the evaporation process.”

“Due to the layout of Gisborne harbour any spill that does occur gets carried into the inner marina and just sits there. In this case there is a clearly detectable odour and it is quite visually obvious.”

Monitoring will be done over the next couple of days and the Turanganui pilot boat will agitate the water if required tomorrow.

Council is responsible for dealing with small and medium sized spills for which MaritimeNZ provides the equipment and training to support the Council. The Gisborne team responds to about 6 spills each year mainly in the inner harbour area. Training of staff and any cleanup costs are met by the Oil Pollution Fund not the ratepayer. Where possible the costs of any spill response are met by the spiller.

“At the moment the source of this diesel spill is not known. We will be continuing our investigations and ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Council confidentially as soon as possible, says Mrs Bennett.

To keep our harbour and marina clean and free from spills, boaties, fisherman and anyone else using the area are asked to keep an eye out for spills and let Council know if they see anything. “We all need to work together to protect our marine environments.”