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Environmental recklessness unacceptable

Eric Roy

Opposition Conservation Spokesman

18 March 2000

Environmental recklessness unacceptable

Opposition Conservation Spokesman Eric Roy today called for a self-closing breathing valve to be compulsory in the fuel tanks of all large fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters, following an oil spill off the coast of the Chatham Islands last night.

"The potential for an ecological disaster as a result of a fuel spill from a fishing vessel is huge. The Seafresh One fuel leak comes 18 months after the grounding of the Korean Trawler - Dong Won 529, which spilled about 30 tonnes of fuel near Stewart Island.

"The installation of a breathing valve in a vessels fuel tank costs only a handful of dollars. To not have one constitutes environmental recklessness.

"It costs millions to cleanup fuel spills, let alone the environmental damage that lingers as a result of the spill.

"The valve lets air into the fuel tank to prevent a vacuum when fuel is being consumed, and automatically shuts off when the vessel submerges for any reason - effectively sealing the tank.

"Accidents at sea do happen and it is vital that we do all we can to prevent pollution of our marine environment. The cost of prevention far outweighs that of a clean up," Mr Roy said.


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