Questions regarding oil spill by ‘Pacific Adventurer’

FROM: Kevin Baker, Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA), Australia


With regards to the environmental disaster caused by the oil spill off Moreton Bay, it is another Bligh Labor Government blunder. The EPA has been handed too much power and needs to be held responsible for their actions.

As Trawl Rep. for Area 1 of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA), over the last few days, through consulting with involved and concerned fishermen that fish the areas, I feel have been affected by the 'Pacific Adventurer' accident.

These are a few of the questions I believe require answers:

1. Why was the ship allowed to steam directly into the path of a category-5 cyclone with 1,200 tonnes of potentially dangerous chemical on the deck, heading for Moreton Bay, a sensitive marine park?

2. When the incident occurred, why did the EPA state that this was only a minor accident and would result in a small oil slick, keeping the public ill advised? Any oil spill is potentially dangerous, why didn't they prepare for the worst?

3. Why did the Port of Brisbane allow this ship to enter Moreton Bay without a full hull inspection prior to it anchoring off Shark Spit, right beside a new Green Zone and right on top of what is left of the trawl area?

4. Why did the EPA allow the "two tonnes of fertiliser" to be dumped into these waters? This may be another environmental tragedy allowed by the EPA.

5. Why do the ship's co-ordinates supplied at the time of the incident not correlate with the drift and landing of this massive oil slick? If co-ordinates supplied were correct, the oil slick should have hit land from approximately Coolum North.

6. What is to be done with the ship, that is still leaking oil, now moored in Brisbane River ?

7. Who is responsible for letting this marine hazard into the marine park and Brisbane River, and has a hull survey been carried out yet?

8. What has been done to advise the fishing industry of the disastrous affect all this dumped fertiliser may have now, and in the future, on seafood that is caught in surrounding areas of this incident?

9. Can the harbour master advise fishing boat owners regarding safety issues of whether it is safe to proceed to sea in the areas these containers were lost overboard?

10. Can the Port of Brisbane supply an accurate track that this ship was travelling in when the incident occurred? This may help determine the true positions where the containers were dumped. It is the industry's belief that the ship's master has not been honest and forthcoming about this incident.

11. Can the owners of the containers advise the industry if the containers would have sunk immediately due to the weight factor in each container?

12. Will a proper search and recovery of these potential environmental time-bombs be carried out, and who will be responsible for these costs?

13. If these containers are proven to be dumped in the trawl ground and if for any reason trawling is banned in these areas, who will be deemed responsible for compensation? The industry has just lost a further 16 percent of trawl area in the Moreton Bay marine park and we fear that the industry cannot handle the cost of losing further grounds.

14. The industry may need to close these areas if scientific tests prove that marine life has been affected.

16. Why has there been hardly any mention of the hazard to trawling that these lost containers will cause by the media? These dumped containers pose a real risk to the future of fishermen, both economically and in real terms of risk of life and vessel.

The seafood industry may as a whole need to join together and pay for proper firm advice on these issues:

– Loss of ground to work equals financial burden for many years and subsequent flow on to social and family issues

– Potential long term detrimental environmental effect equals financial burden for many years and subsequent flow on to social and family issues

– Loss of confidence by the public in buying wild caught seafood around Moreton Bay Marine Park will mean financial burden for many years and subsequent flow on to social and family issues.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Baird Maritime / Work Boat World