Update: Diesel Contained At Site Of Sunken Vessel
Waikato Regional Council staff have set up booms around the site of a sunken vessel on the Coromandel Peninsula to prevent any further spread of diesel.
It’s understood 2000 litres of diesel was on board the 47-foot fibreglass launch that caught fire and sunk in the early hours of this morning in Woolshed Bay, Whanganui Island.
It’s unknown how much diesel might have leaked from the launch prior to a 5km long slick being reported early this afternoon.
An emergency operations centre was established by the regional council to coordinate a response to the spill, said Regional On Scene Commander Richard Barnett.
“Because we don’t yet know how much diesel is still on board, we need to ensure any leaking diesel is contained and doesn’t spread. So two of our maritime vessels have been on the water this evening with our other trained oil spill responders to set up what we call ‘rapid deployment booms’.”
Mr Barnett said it appeared so far no diesel had washed up on the shoreline. “We’ve sought advice from our marine experts and have been advised there are no significant wildlife areas noted close to Woolshed Bay or on Whanganui Island.
“The biggest area of risk is to the inner Coromandel Harbour, from Whangarahi Stream to Waipapa Bay. This is due to it being saltmarsh, seagrass and mangroves which are impossible to clean once oiled.
“Fortunately, the slick is moving away from the shoreline and the good news is that diesel will evaporate very quickly in the warm weather we’re experiencing. That means the risk to wildlife, and the wider environment, is likely to be short-lived.”
Mr Barnett said maritime officers would return at first light in the morning to assess the scene.