Grounded Ship Leaking Oil into the Pacific Near a UNESCO World Heritage Site

285

A ship grounded in the Solomon Islands is leaking oil near a world heritage site, reports the TIME.

What happened?

An environmental disaster is unfolding in the Pacific after a large ship ran aground and began leaking oil next to a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Solomon Islands, Australian officials said on Friday.

Footage taken this week shows little progress has been made in stopping the Solomon Trader ship from leaking oil since it ran aground Feb. 5, according to the Australian High Commission in the Solomon Islands.

How severe is it?

Australian experts estimate more than 80 tons of oil has leaked into the sea and shoreline in the ecologically delicate area and that more than 660 tons of oil remains aboard the Hong Kong-flagged ship, which is continuing to leak.

The ship was chartered by the Bintan Mining company in the Solomon Islands to carry bauxite, which is used in aluminum production.

What do the Island Officials say?

Bintan Solomon Islands chief executive Fred Tang was not immediately available for comment Friday.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said there was a high risk that the remaining oil would leak and it was “profoundly disappointed” by the slow response.

It said the Solomon Islands government had advised it that the responsibility to salvage the ship and mitigate the environmental impact lay with the companies involved.

Shipowners Sent Team

Radio New Zealand reported that the ship’s owner King Trader Ltd. had sent a team to help with the salvage operation while Bintan had claimed that as charterer, it had no legal responsibility for the ship or liability for the accident.

Why is it worrying?

UNESCO has designated the southern third of Rennell Island as a World Heritage site. It says the island is the largest raised coral atoll in the world and is a “true natural laboratory” for scientific study.

It’s also home to about 2,000 people, whom the High Commission notes rely on the ocean along with the natural resources of the island for their livelihoods.

Both Australia and New Zealand have sent experts to help with the monitoring of the oil spill and the potential salvage of the ship.

Did you subscribe for our daily newsletter?

It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe!

Source: Time

 

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.