Oil clean-up turns to mangroves, mud
By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
UNDER a blazing sun, a work party of 18 men toiled to clean up oil-sullied mangroves and mud from a patch of coast at Fisherman's Landing yesterday.
In one part of the mangrove flats, there was clear evidence of the recent oil spill two metres up the tree trunk.
Throughout the day men and machines stripped oil-polluted mangrove growth and loaded it into large buckets for removal. State Marine Pollution Controller, Captain John Watkinson, yesterday said about 20 cubic metres of leaf debris had been removed from the Fisherman's Landing area, including about two tonnes of oil.
About 25 tonnes was estimated to have spilled into the harbour after a coal carrier's side was accidentally punctured last week.
Authorities had previously claimed half that amount had already been collected.
Capt Watkinson said wildlife protection officers had caught a cormorant that was covered in oil and were preparing to catch and clean other oil-affected birds.
Capt Watkinson said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority had inspected the vessel, Global Peace, and had approved the repair work. The vessel is to be moved to another part of the harbour.
Mr Watkinson said claim forms were available from Gladstone Marina for people who believed their business or assets had been affected by the spill.
Yesterday Central Queensland Ports Authority chief executive officer Leo Zussino said the CQPA and other appropriate government agencies, envronmental and community groups were preparing a co-ordinated program to restore the harbour's environment.
'A detailed assessment of the environ- ment is now being undertaken by several agencies including CQPA,' he said.
'That assessment will assist in the implementation of a thorough and well-co-ordinated long-term clean-up program to ensure any potential impacts on the harbour environment are minimised.'