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Greenpeace today expressed extreme concern about the ongoing oil spill from the stricken vessel Rena.
Steve Abel, Greenpeace Campaigner said, “This is an unfortunate illustration of just how difficult it is to deal with oil spills at sea. Even a slow, and relatively accessible oil spill like this one has clearly stretched New Zealand’s response capability to its limits”.
“It is also potential disaster for the blue whales and dolphins presently calving in the area, as well as numerous other marine species."
Greenpeace also cautioned against any further use of toxic chemicals to disperse the spill. Abel explained, “The fact is dispersants don’t clean up a spill. They only put it out of sight and often add to the harm by increasing the toxic load that wildlife are exposed to”.
He concluded, "The focus right now has to be on stopping the ship releasing its remaining oil and minimizing the impact of the existing 5km slick on wildlife and coastlines”.
“Once we are through this crisis period, serious questions need to be asked about the government's preparedness and ability to handle oil spills even of this relatively small scale”.
Greenpeace opposes the government’s plans for deep sea oil development off New Zealand’s coast due to the risk of blow outs and spills such as occurred in the US Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Greenpeace has offered Maritime NZ the support of their inflatable boats, experienced drivers and volunteers to assist in the oil clean up.
For more information contact Steve Abel on 021 927 301 or Greenpeace press office on 021 614 899.