The Australian Marine Conservation Society today applauded government agencies involved in the management of the shipping disaster which unfolded off South-east Queensland this week and proposed a new Moreton Bay Commissioner position within government to help protect the local area from future oil spill accidents.
Craig Bohm, Campaigns Director with the Australian Marine Conservation Society said, "We are impressed with the coordinated action by government agencies to the shipping disaster. While some concerns were raised about a possible lethargic response by government to the disaster, we now know that the main impediment to action was the weather and remote location of the oil spill on Moreton Island", Bohm added.
Hampered by strong winds from cyclone Hamish, authorities have worked hard in dangerous conditions to track the oil slick from the ship MV Pacific Adventurer as well as the fate of 31, six-metre cargo containers containing approximately 600t of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which fell off the vessel into the Moreton Bay Marine Park when an unexpected freak wave hit the vessel two days ago.
Bohm continued, "We know that shipping accidents will continue to happen along our wild coastline and that the frequency of these may increase with climate change affecting the weather and shipping movements becoming more frequent."
"We now need to be ready for these accidents in a pro-active rather than re-active way. Being pro-active means maximizing the health of local wildlife to give them the best chance of survival when accidents like this occur in the future," Bohm added.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society has called on the Queensland Government to create a Moreton Bay Commissioner with the support of scientists from the University of Queensland and the Moreton Bay Seafood Industry Association.
"We must now develop effective measures that give the environment and wildlife the best chance of surviving these damaging incidents. A Moreton Bay Commissioner would be tasked with developing these measures and ensuring that we not only protect wildlife but local maritime jobs in the fishing and tourism industries in the process," Bohm concluded.
For more information:
Craig Bohm - 0427 133 481