Moreton Island was particular badly hit (although obviously not in this photo...). Photo: [mapu] via flickr
Though no oil spill can be considered a good thing, what was initially reported as a 20-30 tonne spill is now ten times worse. The BBC is reporting that 230 tonnes of oil (about 70,000 gallons) have spilled from a Hong Kong-registered ship, damaged in a tropical storm earlier in the week, and is washing up along a 60km stretch of shoreline. Authorities are warning that this is threatening wildlife and carcinogenic:Area's affected by the spill run from Point Arkwright in the north to Bribie Island in the south, as well of all of Morton Island National Park.
What's more, the spill happened when 31 containers containing ammonium nitrate fertilizer were toppled in the storm, puncturing the hull of the ship. 620 tonnes of the fertilizer have also spilled into the ocean.
In addition to the damage caused by the oil spill there is some concern that the spilled fertilizer could cause a harmful algal bloom, suffocating fish and destroying more habitat.
Should the ship's owner, Swire Shipping, be found guilty of environmental negligence it could face fines up to US$977,000 and be made to pay clean up costs of US$64,000 per day.
via: BBC News
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