web analytics

Our own oil spill

Written By: - Date published: 8:07 am, October 8th, 2011 - 15 comments
Categories: disaster, Environment, Gerry Brownlee, Steven Joyce - Tags: , ,

Last year the world’s attention was focused on a huge oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, and the environmental disaster that unfolded.  Not long after that Brazilian oil giant Petrobras started explorations for drilling in our own Raukumara Basin.

Naturally concerns were raised about the prospect of a Gulf style disaster off our own shores.  The Nats gave all sorts of facile reassurances that everything would be fine – a dangerously lax attitude to the very real risks.  New Zealand is ill prepared to manage a big oil spill.  Gerry Brownlee promising that the government would “do all it can” to prevent a spill simply doesn’t cut it.

And now of course, here we are. The spill from the Rena on a much smaller scale than the Gulf, but it is still a disaster in the making:

Joyce: Slick damage will get worse

The oil slick from a leaking ship off the Tauranga coast remained a constant size today, Maritime New Zealand said. But the environmental damage from the spill will get worse before it gets better, Transport Minister Steven Joyce said.

And the spill is taking its toll on wildlife, with four little blue penguins and two shags rescued from Motiti Island today. Four teams of responders are based on the island at present, and 10 more will join them tomorrow.

The Rena has been stranded off the Tauranga coast since grounding early on Wednesday. It has 1700 tonnes (2 million litres) of heavy fuel oil on board. …

We are dealing with a considerable clean-up operation and we can expect some oil to come ashore at some point,” Joyce said.

An estimated 100 tonnes of oil has leaked from one of the ship’s fuel tanks into its bilges and keel and forecast bad weather is expected to increase the rate of spill as the ship is damaged further.

Maritime New Zealand National On Scene Commander Rob Service said efforts to stop the leak and disburse the oil were difficult due to inappropriate equipment for the rough seas.  “Offshore operations are subject to weather conditions and we are not being able to undertake on-water operations due to the conditions,” he said. … Trials of dispersants were continuing after inconclusive results yesterday, with experts advising against the use of protective booms due to strong currents and rough seas, Maritime NZ said. …

‘POTENTIAL DISASTER’

Marine experts are warning it’s highly like the ship would break up and say the fuel needs to be taken off.

The call came as Environment Minister Nick Smith said the spill from the ship “had the potential to be New Zealand’s most significant maritime pollution disaster in decades”.

So dispersants haven’t worked, and other operations aren’t possible because we have the wrong equipment for rough seas.  Brilliant.  It certainly makes a mockery of the Nats’ bland reassurances doesn’t it.  If we can’t deal with a small oil leak from a grounded ship, what are we doing planning deepsea drilling on a grand scale?

15 comments on “Our own oil spill ”

  1. happynz 1

    If I remember correctly Gerry Brownlee once proposed that a ‘Best Practices Manual’ was all that was needed and ‘she’d be right’.

    • erentz 1.1

      I’m hoping some msm attention is given to the drilling off the East Cape after this. I guess I shouldn’t hold my breath.

  2. Mac1 2

    “If we can’t deal with a small oil leak from a grounded ship, what are we doing planning deepsea drilling on a grand scale?”

    Absolutely. Thanks for pointing out the connection. At the moment it’s ‘spray and walk away.’

  3. John Dalley 3

    Another nail in National’s political coffin?

  4. ianmac 4

    “So dispersants haven’t worked……”
    It seems that the hydraulic oil has a component that causes it to float beneath the surface so the dispersant takes a while to react by seeping down from the surface.
    The measure of the response is of course a measure of preparedness. Government responsibility? Yes.

  5. Afewknowthetruth 5

    The normal response of governments to major oil spills is to put in place an exclusion zone so no one can see what is actually happening, declare the situation under control, release a statement from the oil company indicating the quantity is one tenth the actual amount, and then hope that Nature can cope with the mess.

  6. Hilary 6

    Where is the leadership from the local MPs?

    • HardlyAnonymous 6.1

      Don’t expect to hear anything from the local Tauranga MP, Simon Bridges AKA Muppet. He was quick to slam Tiki Tane for his singing, but dissing Corporate Monkeys is a whole different ball game. And its an election year, so can’t make a big fuss about anything related to Oil or Coal when your only economic policy is rape and pillage without a hint of caring about the environment beyond Smile and Wave non sequitur.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Maritime New Zealand National On Scene Commander Rob Service said…”Offshore operations are subject to weather conditions and we are not being able to undertake on-water operations due to the conditions,”

    The days since the grounding have been calm and they ain’t going to get any better. This is no more than an excuse. The lack of equipment is due to bad planning probably caused by cutting corners in an effort to “improve” efficiency and make more profits for the port*.

    * Due to the neo-liberal revolution here, specifically the removal of regulations, for the last 3 decades I doubt any port in NZ could deal with the situation and yet it is obviously one for which they should have plans, equipment and training for.

  8. uke 8

    If we can’t deal with a small oil leak from a grounded ship, what are we doing planning deepsea drilling on a grand scale?
     

    Ditto fracking.

  9. Cin77 9

    If worst comes to worst and we have a situation like the gulf oil spill we can bend down and kiss our coastlines goodbye 🙁 I’ve had reservations about the deepsea oil drillilng from when I first found out about it, but now I have these very loud alarm bells ringing in my head.

  10. Jumbuck 10

    It’s like watching a really slow trainwreck.

  11. If we changed the name of the ship to “Party Central” would we get a better response?

  12. hellonearthis 12

    Has John Key blamed Labor for this yet?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Fast-tracked Northland water project will accelerate economic recovery
    The Government has welcomed the decision to approve a new water storage reservoir in Northland, the first of a number of infrastructure projects earmarked for a speedy consenting process that aims to accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19.  The Matawii Water Storage Reservoir will provide drinking water for Kaikohe, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago