Talk:2009 southeast Queensland oil spill

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In The News and Map[edit]

I have put a brief request for the event to be included in the "In the news" section of the main page, we have plenty of info and sources, we just need to organise it all. Any help with pursuing it's inclusion in ITN would be much appreciated. Nick carson (talk) 06:17, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

This event should be up there. I'll see what I can do later tomorrow to help out. Feel free to copy any of the information from the Hamish article since I'm going to reword it and summarize it a bit more since there is an article on it. Cyclonebiskit 06:26, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Sure thing, thanks heaps for that. As usual, I was amazed that an article didn't exist for this. I made a basic map and working on a better one. I've gone through and done a basic copyedit and arranged the info we have into some basic sections so we can make sense of it all. Nick carson (talk) 07:10, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
BBC has a map of the oil spill, you might be able to use it to update the current map. [1] Cyclonebiskit 19:35, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
We've got differing accounts of the affected area from various sources, I'll look into it and find out where exactally the affected areas are and adjust the map accordingly. Nick carson (talk) 06:45, 15 March 2009 (UTC)


"Press reports stated that if the ammonium nitrate were to mix with the heavy fuel, the mixture could ignite and cause a large explosion."

Where exactly did the press report this? It may have been reported that when you mix the two you CAN make an explosion.

In any case, it doesn't really matter if someone said it because a small amount of fuel + ammonium nitrate in a large ocean does not equal an explosion since the ammonium nitrate dissolves in WATER. Constan69 (talk) 22:14, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Exactally, and you need an ignition source too. Sensationalistic, dramatised mainstream commercial media "news". Nick carson (talk) 06:46, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

So hard to get good help nowadays[edit]

Does this sentence make sense to anybody else? "High tides were helping the cleanup effort as they carried some of the fuel oil off shorelines and dispersed it in the sea." If you're a drudge whose task is to clean a beach, I guess that helps you personally, but if you're at all sensitive to the damage these chemicals and oils could do to sensitive marine life, I should think one would prefer washing conveniently onto a beach for pickup over "dispersal" into the sea. Abrazame (talk) 16:42, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Not really, most of the persons I know in environmental remediation wish they could just let the materials dilute in large bodies of water. "Dilution is the solution to pollution." to quote of my instructor in Hazardous Materials and Pollution Response. The concentrations immediately offshore (with 15m of the tide line) might be high enough to have an impact, but the ocean is huge and water a wonderfully polar solvent. Scienda (talk) 22:03, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Needless to say, the best solution to such a problem is to just not transport toxic substances full stop. We can use organic substances for all our needs, and anything particular like substances for medical use, are required in far smaller amounts that can be easily transported without endangering life. Such an easy solution, similar argument basis with guns; just get rid of them, simple. Same argument for the shipping company responsible for the transport of the oil; get those responsible on the beaches cleaning it up themselves. Nick carson (talk) 04:41, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Impartiality of the article needs to be disputed[edit]

I'm concerned that some "editorial statements" in this article are either unfounded, untrue or do not cite appropriate sources.

eg; "unsecured cargo" there is no evidence that the deck cargo was unsecured, in fact the opposite as the remaining shipping containers have damaged twist lock pockets if you look at the photos. Later in the article "a wave broke the restraints for the cargo and sent 31 containers of ammonium nitrate overboard" - were they unsecured or restrained?

eg; "fuel" infers a more refined substance than the bunker oil used in the great majority of ocean going vessels. Diesel fuel would not have caused the damage that the heavier bunker oil does.

eg; " In an interview of the crew of the ships, the crew stated that the captain was to blame for the incident." citation and references to the names of the crew members who blamed the captain.

eg; "The captain decided to stay on course, directly through the storm" - the Queensland Govt. Maritime Safety Bureau's website at has a different story as to why ships are always advised to put to sea in large storms/cyclones.

eg; "Press reports stated that if the ammonium nitrate were to mix with the heavy fuel, the mixture could ignite and cause a large explosion." - absolute drivel and a media beat up.

eg; "If the chemical did not react with the fuel but still leaked out, marine life could be threatened by large blooms of algae." - speculation and needs the citation from the scientist who made that statement.

eg; "The southern tip of Bribie Island to Point Arkwright" - not true.

eg: "The shipping company and the ship's master are expected to be fined A$2 million ($1.3 million USD)[14] and $500,000 respectively. In addition the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh explained: "If there is any grounds for prosecution of this ship and its owners we will not hesitate to take that action." and "We will also be pursuing them for compensation as this is going to be a very big clean-up cost and I want those ship owners to be paying for it."[2] Following the environmental disaster, the company could be fined an additional A$248.6 million ($163.5 million USD).[17] Once the ship was at port, the captain was forced to surrender his passport to Australian officials and he was to remain in Brisbane for at least two weeks to help with the investigation.[18]" - this totally pre empts the legal system and should be deleted until such time as any action (if any) is taken against the captain and the shipping company. Swires (the owners) have already said they will pay for the cleanup via their insurers in a press release. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:36, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Impartial would be as my comment above explains; suggesting that those responsible pay the costs of, and offer their own personal labour to the clean up efforts, and the shipping of toxic substances ceases. Such comments are not included in the article because they are impartial. The inclusions you (whoever you are) have alluded to will ultimately be cited/referenced/sourced at some stage as the article is under construction and it is a current event. Nick carson (talk) 12:40, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
So the fact that Swires has already committed to pay the costs is just ignored? Swires is an overseas company and the crew would be required to have 457 Visas for working on shore - as if the Feds are going to issue those in less than a month. Bunker Oil and Ammonium Nitrate are NOT toxic, you can run your hands through them and they will not poisen you. Both of them are environmental hazards, as is practically all naturally and made man substances in the wrong place. The Government posturing/media machine of the cleanup workers wearing white coveralls and wearing respirator masks on day one, has now changed to just white coveralls. If you want to do some further research go and ask why the Oil Industry's Oil Spill Response Plan was refused (hence my anonymity) - with the offer of proper floating absorbant booms, air spray oil coagulants, scoop boats, etc. There was no need for the Disaster Declaration (other than political) which has caused no end of economic hardship for the tourism operators in areas not even effected by the spill. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:31, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Where's the trust and transparency? I'll commend your honesty though, although some assertions are questionable. The economic costs won't be comprehensively known for many months, or years, so any amount offered by Swires will undoubtedly be inaccurate at this stage. Anyone in the business of shipping such substances over water should be fully aware of their responsibilities when things go wrong, because the fact remains that if they didn't ship such substances, such situations wouldn't arise. The fact that they'd require visas for anything is one that shall be resolved in the coming decades as human beings have a right to migration, let alone helping, or cleaning up their own messes. I'm unsure about your assertions that ammonium nitrate and fuel oil are non-toxic or non-harmful. The oil industry's oil spill response plan may include utilising other harmful or toxic substances to clean up the spilled substances, which may be why it was refused. This is where trust and transparency helps us learn from each other, solve problems and converse easier. Nick carson (talk) 08:55, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Swires insurers are the ones that will be paying - one of the few compulsory requirements for International Shipping is that they hold insurance for such accidents. Insurers and companies that have had to deal with governments that play at doing cleanups only know too well how much they will be charged. Whether the Queensland Government will get what it wants is another matter - refusing professional aid is just plain stupid. The large (1.5m diameter) absorbant booms should have been laid along the incoming tide and most of the bunker oil would have caught. The coagulants cause the oil to beed or foerm small pebbles and can then be rcovered very easily by washing back into the sea and then scooped up from the surface. The labour intensive raking and shovelling sand and oil is just ridiculous. The oil industry has spent millions worldwide developing spill recovery chemicals that are harmless to aquatic life, the "good ole days" of squirting dish washing liquid on a spill went out in the 1990s. As for you persistant assertion that we should not ship items like this - thats fine. But you are making use of all those nasty chemicals by using the internet (your plastic PC comes from the oil industry, you've probably eaten something grown using ammonium nitrate) and I assume you dont want to return to a subsistance lifestyle. The fertilisers that Australia exports to the Pacific rim nations ensures that people are fed - using non chemical farming methods does not provide the yields that are needed to prevent large famines. ^^^^ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:42, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, but if the shipping company only released information that, or knew that, only 20 tonnes had been spilled, any cleanup efforts they offered before the spill reached the shoreline would have been inadequate also, agreed? I'd expect insurance companies offering such services to be fully aware of the risk they are bearing (that is what their client is paying for), I simply can't feel sympathetic towards insurance providers (especially given that almost all insurance providers don't give back finances in the occurrence of a non-event. The fact that it took until the 1990's to stop using such methods of cleaning spills isn't a good thing, it was far overdue. The assertion that I choose to use such chemicals and substances is absurd. Given the choice otherwise, I, and many millions others, would take it. If such shipping of such substances was banned, locally sourced non-toxic, organic substances would replace the toxic, synthetic. Australia itself can only support 10 million human inhabitants maximum, issues of unsustainable yield heights will be solved through population management. Some unanswered questions: Why did Swire SC (or the ship itself) underestimate the amounts spilled by nearly 10 times? Has Swire SC (or their insurers) given the Queensland Government the assurance that it will cover all cleanup costs? Will Swire SC give the QG the assurance that they will not pursue legalities or any subsequent legal costs? Why hasn't Swire SC committed to sustainable business practices and transitioned the substances they ship in an effort to phase out the shipping of such substances? (it's 2009, they're well behind the times, surely they read 'Cradle to Cradle' or similar literature back in the early 2000's or preceding decades) Nick carson (talk) 04:29, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
You do realise that the ship was in danger of rolling over (the loss of cargo would have seriously unbalanced the ship) and that sending crew to check contents of the bunker oil tanks below decks would have been a fairly low priority when the life of the crew was in danger - and thats on the assumption that the crew knew that the hull and bunker oil tanks had been breached - very doubtful. With the damage of the tanks and entry of seawater into the bunker oil it would have been impossible to verify losses until the ship was stable and the tanks could be dipped using rods and seeing the oil/water layers - guages would have only verified the level of sea water and oil in the tanks, they could not verify the losses until some days later. The crew did their best by giving an estimate which they revised as the information became available. I am "assuming" that the initial oil loss report refers to lubricating oil held in deck tanks and damaged by the containers. Your assumption seems to be that this was a deliberate act by the crew, it was an accident, a series of minor events that eventually all add up to the loss of the containers by wave and/or wind action and the rupturing of the double skin hull.
I'd say that the Qld elections had a fair bit to do with grandstanding by the Premier, declaring a state of disaster has back fired on the economy of the region. The declaration just gave the coppers the right to exclude people from the effected areas - making sure that volunteers trying to help wildlife were stopped - I wonder which employment agency provided the cleanup staff?
Who pays the cleanup costs - well if I was Swires insurers I'd have had half a dozen assessors on site within hours and be disputing the hire costs of four 40 tonne 6x6 earth movers which have been in a car park on Bribie Island for two weeks without moving (one instance of 100s)!! One of the first laws of insurance is that the "damaged party" must take steps to limit their damages. Refusing assistance from the oil spill response teams in Geelong and the local oil refineries will come back and haunt the Qld Government and tax payers who will have to foot the incompetence of the cleanup response.
BTW people dont make things if other people wont buy them, but its a chicken/egg question. The demand for chemicals is only there because the majority of people want the benefits that they provide. You do have a choice - you can stop buying and using items made with chemicals, its hard but possible in Australia. You can grow your own food on about 5 acres, keep animals, disconnect from power grids, chop wood (you'll need another 20 acres) for cooking and heat or use dry cow dung from your herd, work from sunup to sundown seven days a week and die at 35 a very old, malnourished and worn out person - like about 90% of the world's population before the agrarian and industrial revolutions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:02, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
I can't say what level politics played in denying Swires offers of assistance in cleanup, nor can I say wether or not the Queensland state government is leaving equipment stationary or not handling the cleanup adequately. So until you or I can prove it, they're just suspicions.
I know it's possible to forego such substances and be self-sufficient, but I don't really have a choice, nor do many millions of others, because of financial, land and other restrictions. The companies transporting, manufacturing, etc these substances do have the capabilities and the responsibility, to make the transition. Nick carson (talk) 01:59, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Queensland oil spill[edit]

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has declared Moreton Island, Bribie Island and southern parts of the Sunshine Coast disaster zones after a massive oil spill.

Sixty kilometres of coastline is covered in the slick, which came from the Pacific Adventurer after it was damaged earlier this week in rough seas whipped up by cyclone Hamish.

Up to 230 tonnes of fuel oil leaked into the ocean from the cargo ship. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:16, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Queensland oil spill[edit]

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has declared Moreton Island, Bribie Island and southern parts of the Sunshine Coast disaster zones after a massive oil spill.

Sixty kilometres of coastline is covered in the slick, which came from the Pacific Adventurer after it was damaged earlier this week in rough seas whipped up by cyclone Hamish.

Up to 230 tonnes of fuel oil leaked into the ocean from the cargo ship.

Ms Bligh met with an emergency response group last night.

She says the spill is much bigger than originally reported by the ship and the effect will be widespread.

Ms Bligh says public access will be restricted to the areas to allow pollution response teams to clean up.

Clean-up coordination centres have been set up in the disaster zones.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg says the Government's handling of the clean-up has been farcical.

"We've now got the ridiculous situation of the Government chasing the councils off the beach who are there with heavy equipment trying to clear up oil spills and oil slicks that are more than 20 and 30 kilometres long," he said.

"They're running around with a few buckets and shovels and they are being told that this is the clean-up strategy, now this is ridiculous."

Mr Springborg yesterday voiced support for Environmental Protection Agency staff overseeing the clean-up. But he now says he was misled when he was told it was under control.

"It's either been a cover-up or absolutely incompetently mishandled," he said.

Ms Bligh says suggestions of a cover-up are ridiculous.

"This is a 60km oil spill. Any suggestion that anyone would want to cover it up or could is simply nonsense," she said.

Sunshine Coast

Emergency groups will meet on the Sunshine Coast this morning to formulate a plan to clean-up the oil spill.

Sunshine Coast Council environment manager Stephen Skull says it is too early to say how long it will take to remove the oil.

"It's certainly bigger than the first reports I was getting in terms of the extent of it and the magnitude of what's impacting our beaches," he said.

But the worst fears of Sunshine Coast residents have been realised, with the oil slick washing into the Maroochy River.

Local Murray Johnson says the State Government did not respond quickly enough to the unfolding disaster.

"They should be able to put something in place pretty rapidly to sort of safeguard against this sort of thing, because for Queensland it's a major tourism place and no-one's going to like having black scud all over the beach," he said.

But Mayor Bob Abbot says the blame game must wait until the immediate crisis is resolved.

"Got the issues with communication and that sort of stuff, but the important thing is to get this thing fixed first and I'm more interested in doing that than anything else.

"We can argue about who said what and when and who pays when it's over. As far as I'm concerned, we've got to go full steam ahead and stop it getting any further up the river."

Meanwhile, Greens Leader Bob Brown says he is astonished the Queensland and federal governments are so unprepared for a major oil spill.

Senator Brown says Australia should have a national coordinating service.

"We have always known that a much worse spill like those we have seen in Europe and Alaska could occur in Australia, where is the nationally coordinated action?" he said.

Fishing industry fears

Queensland Seafood Industry Association president Neil Green says the 30 containers of ammonium nitrate that fell off the Pacific Adventurer on Wednesday morning remain a major concern to commercial fishermen.

""Thirty of this size [of] containers are like 30 houses out there in the ocean, where our guys are going to be out there trawling and hook up on one of these," he said.

"They could capsize and that's a major problem for us. We're looking at the possibility of major areas being wiped out, environmentally-wise."

He is concerned about the long-term effects of ammonium nitrate polluting a major fishing area in south-east Queensland.

"We're horrified. Looking at the location of where these containers went over, it's smack bang in the middle of our major trawl grounds," he said. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:18, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Interesting. Nick carson (talk) 13:46, 28 July 2009 (UTC)


i need to no the final cost of cleanup the is not clear here71.234.29.116 (talk) 23:27, 3 March 2010 (UTC) Yes check.svg Done - Shiftchange (talk) 08:33, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

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