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Our quietly spreading Exxon Valdez in the Timor Sea

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Guest, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    +0 / 0
    Amazing how the word and the press can ignore this disaster and the great pacific ocean dump (google this and see what comes up). 

    Peter Garrett berated Exxon for their spill but now not a word.

    Everyone concentrates on global warming which may or may not be happening but no-one seems to care about these two events which are definately happening now.

    World Wildlife Fund conservation manager Gilly Llewellyn writes:

    On August 21, 2009, a the Montara H1 production well, located on the Montara Wellhead Platform, 200 kilometres off Western Australia’s Kimberley coast, suffered a dramatic well-control accident. The resulting environmental disaster has now been recognised as one of Australia’s worst oil spills, and comes at a time when this biologically rich marine region is increasingly in the spotlight for oil and gas development.

    In September, a whole month after the incident and with oil still spewing into the Timor Sea, WWF launched a research trip from Darwin to the affected area to gain a first-hand snapshot of the region’s marine life and the potential impacts and risk to marine wildlife of the slick. The expedition set sail on Thursday 24 September and after steaming out to the remote site, spent three days carrying wildlife surveys using a team of trained ecologists.

    We found a region rich in marine wildlife and awash in a sea of oil and slicks of waxy, crusty residue. At one point the smell of the fumes from the leaking rig was so strong we had to change course. We know that oil can be a slow and silent killer and it was sickening to sea dolphins surfacing in the oil and sea birds feeding on the slicks and patches of sheen.

    The expedition report released last Friday describes the results of three days of surveys which included sightings of 202 Spinner Dolphins, 77 Pan Tropical Spotted dolphins, 30 bottlenose dolphins, 176 Sooty terns, many other sea-birds, sea snakes and the occasional turtle in the region affected by the slick. It comes at a time when the company has also reported deaths of 16 out of 25 oil affected birds at Ashmore reef.

    For the two months since the accident happened we have had an oil slick visible from space, covering an area of thousands of square kilometers. The size, extent and duration means that hundreds if not thousands of our most precious wildlife will have been exposed to the toxic effects of oil, as well as untold damage to the underwater ecosystem and contamination of the food chain. If this was oil off our favourite beaches and swimmers and surfers were at risk, then there would be public outrage. Out of sight should not mean out of mind.

    We know from the Exxon Valdez disaster that impacts from an oil spill can be seen 20 years later, so we can expect this environmental disaster will continue to unfold for years to come.

    Bob Gosford writes:

    I am at a loss as to why this marine disaster has hardly registered on the Australian radar - press coverage appears to have been piecemeal at best, with little comprehensive coverage of the local, regional and international consequences.

    The political response has been limited to hand-wringing stop-gap measures and to paying for a series of failed attempts to plug the spill and some apparently ineffective mopping-up operations.

    This is a disaster of not only local, but regional and international proportions. And, while the weather conditions in and around the Timor Sea are relatively stable at present, the impending arrival of the seasonal monsoonal cycle in the coming months will substantially change the nature and location of the impact of this massive spill.

    The Jakarta Post reports that the slick is already in Indonesian waters and is causing illness and will have a substantial economic affect on traditional fishers and harvesters on Rote Island:

    Four weeks after the oil spill, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) submitted an official report to the Indonesian government mentioning that volumes of crude oil had entered the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone, some 51 nautical miles from Rote Island.

    Traditional fishermen operating off Pasir Island found an oil slick resembling a pool around 20 miles from Tablolong beach in Kupand, or around 30 nautical miles from Kolbano, South Central Timor regency.

    Last week, fishermen on the coast of Rote Ndao regency started complaining of illnesses as a result of the oil spill that had reached land and damaged thousands of hectares of ready-to-harvest seaweed.

    "Seaweed, which is one of the province's prime commodities, has been polluted. If the farmers fail to harvest their seaweed, they would incur losses of up to billions of rupiah," said the West Timor Care Foundation NGO director Ferdi Tanoni.

    And the Timor Oil spill has been picked up by East Timorese bloggers here and here.

    The West Atlas oil rig in the Timor Sea, operated by the Thai-owned PTTEP Australasia, blew on August 21 and has leaked over 400,000 litres of oil, gas and condensate into the Timor Sea at a rate of reported variously as being from 300 to 1200 barrels a day.
  2. ssar

    ssar Well-Known Member

    +206 / 4
    Unbeleivably sickening.

    The companies that own/operate the rig should have mounted an immediate deep-ocean repair mission and closed off whatever needed to be, to stop any leak.

    Not to mention escalate thier cleanup efforts to minimize that which is spilt/still spilling.

    Sure, such a process could be massively complicated but hey, that's what you gotta be prepared for if you build and activate one of these ocean oil rigs, SURELY.
  3. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

    +971 / 7
    From Wiki "The vessel (Exxon Valdez) spilled 10.8 million U.S. gallons (about 40 million litres) of Prudhoe Bay crude oil into the sea, and the oil eventually covered 11,000,000 square miles (28,000,000 km2) of ocean.

    Without downplaying the damage being done, that makes it some 100 times worse than what is occuring in the Timor Sea.
  4. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    +5,437 / 74
    My brother works on oil rigs, it's not as simple as just "patching a leak" which is hy we have so far had 3 failed attempts to patch it
  5. Fluffy

    Fluffy Well-Known Member

    +3,459 / 127
    I agree with the sentiments of most and with Dan as well.

    If it were as eaasy as turning the tap off they would have done it by now as every bit lost is lost income.

    I also agree that there is no where near enough media coverage and pressure - they seem more interested in sports stars taking a leak in a back ally on a saturday night.

    The other strange thing is the WWF report took a month to be released
  6. Fluffy

    Fluffy Well-Known Member

    +3,459 / 127
    after blowing the thing up they have finally stopped the leak

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