Catalyst for disaster

21 October 2010

Mexico oil rig burnt out of control and then sank causing massive leaks of crude oil and gas from the sea floor. Australia was lucky to avoid a similar disaster with last year’s spill in the Timor Sea off Northern Australia.

The release of oil into a marine environment is very damaging for all forms of marine life and extremely difficult to clean up – whatever the size of the oil slick.

Oil introduces toxic material into the food chain, degrades beaches and can smother marine organisms. Reporting a spill early is a critical part of minimising the potential damage that can be done.

Take great care that oil and fuel do not leak from your vessel in any form and if you sight an oil spillage it can be reported by following the steps outlined on the right.

How to report an oil spill:

Step 1: If you witness pollution from a ship or notice oil on any waters telephone Flinders Ports on (08) 8248 3505 or call on VHF Radio Channel 12 at all hours.

Step 2: You will need to provide as much information as possible.
Tell the operator:
• your contact details
• when and where the pollution occurred
• the type of substance discharged
• extent of the pollution
• name of vessel or other source
• any other relevant information available.

Step 3: Do not attempt to clean up the spill yourself.
The incident will be investigated and a suitable response mounted, such as:
• allowing the fuel to naturally dissipate
• agitation of the water
• use of recovery equipment.