NZ Tauranga Oil Spill October 2013 Shows Lack Of Clean-Up Expertise – Yet Government Says OK To Ocean Oil Drillers
DSC01936Permission For Ocean Oil Drilling off the coast of New Zealand was given to Petrobras earlier in the year by John Key’s National Party. Now we learn that the government’s Maritime Emergency Response Unit does not have the expertise to handle even a small scale oil spill. This is just unbelievable. Now we know just how irresponsible and uncaring this National government of New Zealand really is. – They gave permission for ocean oil drilling, despite the dangers, despite the Gulf of Mexico Ocean oil Disaster. despite the ongoing protests from a very concerned public. And now, after the inept and disorganized handling of the Tauranga Rena Oil Spillage, we learn that this permission for overseas oil drillers to operate here has been given DESPITE THERE BEING NO EQUIPMENT TO DEAL WITH AN OIL SPILLAGE OF MAJOR OR EVEN MINOR PROPORTIONS.
Say No To Deep Sea Oil Drilling. Let the Tauranga Rena Oil Spill Be a Lesson To People and Governments Everywhere. We Should Have Already Learned The Lesson From The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Disaster. Hopefully, this oil spill on our own shores might waken us up to the environmental risk of ocean oil drilling. The Tauranga oil-spill is a disaster, but at least there is a finite amount of oil being released. With an oil drill that goes wrong, there is no finite amount of oil. Oil drills can leak for months, years, forever, if conditions do not permit a stoppage of the leak. We have been mis-led by the National government. They told us repeatedly, while they were negotiating with oil company Petrobras and other companies, that we had nothing to worry about. The government, and Petrobras themselves, tried to convince us that modern technology would take care of things, that an oil spill would not happen from modern oil drilling equipment, and modern technology would fix any ocean oil spill if it should happen. All very well – but what about human error? As the Tauranga Rena spill has illustrated, human error should not ever be ruled out. Accidents DO happen, often through human error or negligence. Wednesday last week was the birthday of the Captain, and the First Officer was not at his navigational post. So what were they doing? One might hazard a guess.
The real state of affairs was revealed last night by John Campbell on ‘Campbell Live’, TV3., October 12th 2011. John Campbell questioned the Prime Minister John Key about the lack of response to the emergency situation in Tauranga. He read out the emergency response of Maritime New Zealand’s web-site to John Key, quoting ” Maritime NZ maintains a response capability to attend to a spillage of 3,500 tonnes” ( of oil.) This statement of Maritime NZ is obviously not realistic. John Campbell asks why Maritime NZ did not come sooner to the aid of the ship ‘Rena’, with its ‘response capability’.
John Key, of course, defended the slow response, and blamed the wait on the weather, and on the fact that ‘overseas expertise’ had to arrive before they could attend to the ship-wreck and its oil spillage. “We need world experts to deal with something of this magnitude” was more or less his answer.
John Campbell was quick to pick up the flaw in John Key’s argument: “Are you saying that we do not have the expertise in New Zealand, then”, he asked of the Prime Minister. The PM paused before answering, and then, instead of giving a yes or a no, went on to refer to the other disasters – Christchurch, and the Pike River Mine – and that time was needed, as well as world experts, to attend to these disasters as well.
Still, whatever the PM says, if there had been an IMMEDIATE response, at least to heat up the oil on the shipwrecked Rena, and get it off the ship , the environmental disaster which has seen more than 380 tonnes of oil spilled into the Tauranga harbour would have been avoided. A Wellington expert spoke on Campbell Live last night, who said that this was achievable if they had got in there before the weather changed. The oil could have been off the boat within 24 hours after heating it, so the expert said. That is what should have happened – that the oil be removed before the storm arrived. Last night, a week after the accident, nothing had yet been done about getting the oil off the shipwrecked ‘Rena’.
It has taken a whole week for 150 army personnel to arrive to start the clean-up on the beach. And meanwhile, oil still continues to pour into the sea from the shipwrecked ‘Rena’. More than 80 containers, of around 1300 on board the ‘Rena’, have fallen from the boat and into the sea. These floating containers are hazards to local boats who might hit one, unseen, beneath the water. And the ship is breaking up, likely to drop the remaining containers, 13 of which are carrying hazardous toxic material, into the sea.
Maritime New Zealand should have acted immediately, before the storm, when they first learned that the ship had became stuck on the Astrolabe Reef. Once the storm came several days later, it was impossible to get to the ship, as the water was so rough.
A warning to John Key and all the other politicians who have allowed Petrobras, a Brazilian oil drilling company, to drill in the ocean on the East Cape. This drilling should be stopped immediately. The ‘little’ oil spill over at Tauranga, NZ, is a dire warning of the disaster to come if ocean drilling is allowed to continue. SAY NO TO ALL OCEAN DRILLING, WHERE EVER IT IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD.
Sign the Greenpeace protest against ocean oil drilling.