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Oil spill response underway in Picton

Since the incident in Picton yesterday afternoon, when a Kiwirail shunt locomotive was submerged in Picton Harbour, an oil spill response operation has been underway.

The Oil Spill Response Team in action yesterday afternoon.

Regional Onsite Commander Luke Grogan, who is also the Marlborough Harbourmaster, said the locomotive is lying in approximately 10 metres of water.

“The locomotive has a diesel fuel tank with a capacity of 1,000 litres and contains other engine lubricants. The exact quantity of diesel on-board is unknown.”

“Diesel is leaking at a slow rate from the unit and our estimates at this stage are that less than 15 litres has been discharged so far. The diesel is probably leaking from a fuel breather pipe which our divers are hoping to block. Other options to further prevent discharge are also being evaluated.”

“Our oil spill response team has surrounded the site with spill containment and sorbent booms and work is underway to recover what has been contained within the boomed area.”

He says weather conditions are favourable today and tomorrow morning.

“KiwiRail is developing a plan with cooperation from Port Marlborough to remove the locomotive but at this stage that will happen tomorrow at the earliest.”

“Our concerns for wildlife impacts at this stage centre on the potential risk to blue penguins should a significant discharge occur. However we do have time to attempt to mitigate that risk.”

“Everyone working on the spill response is a member of Marlborough’s regional Oil Spill Response Team and are working to ensure that we operate under the Government’s Covid-19 guidelines for Alert Level 3.”

Further information will be made public as the operation continues.

© Scoop Media

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