A Disaster Unfolding


There is a major environmental disaster looming just 410 ms (about 260 miles) away from here.  In the lovely Bay of Plenty harbour of Tauranga, a ship has gone aground carrying 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil.

Read the report in the Dominion Post this morning.

I have told you before about the pristine beaches that abound around our country.  Tauranga has fabulous beaches and is a favourite place for all manner of water activities.  Families flock to its beaches in the summer months.


Dolphins and whales regularly visit this harbour and surrounds, many species of game fish are in the waters as well as the smaller fish that call these waters home.

“Tauranga marine life expert Graeme Butler said the fuel leak into the pristine waters was already a disaster.
This could not have happened at a worse time, coming into spring and the breeding season,” he said. “This is going to have a significant impact for many years to come.”
Mr Butler, who owns and operates a whale-watching and dolphin watching charter out of Tauranga, said the waters around the ship were teeming with rare and endangered wildlife.
“A blue whale and her calf were spotted in the area where the ship is only last week,” he said.”

We are coming up to Labour Day (24 October) and many will have planned to travel there for the long weekend.  No doubt those plans will be affected as will the livelihood and hopes, of the businesses in the region.

We are told by Government Ministers and spokespersons for a variety of organisations, that all is being done as quickly as possible, but are we seeing the beginnings of another Gulf of Mexico situation here?  Have we learned nothing in the intervening months about transporting vast amounts of oil through our waters?

Added to the oil problem we are told that the ship is carrying ‘hazardous cargo’ but what the nature of this is we are not told. We will have to wait and see what news of this is shared with us the people who are most affected.


36 responses to “A Disaster Unfolding

  1. Thanks for posting this Judith–It’s a lot worse than they originally were saying, isn’t it? And no mention of how it happened or what company is responsible.

    • I get mad when I read of these things. Has nothing been learned since the Gulf of Mexico and the disaster that still has ramifications there? And I hear that BP are to start again drilling for oil in the Gulf – what madness or is it greed, lies behind this?

  2. Everytime theres an oil leak, it angers me how this oil ships and company can get a way with. It is a crime to the environment and its life forms. This is the time to work as one community to put a stop to this madness. I hope and pray that the gov’t. Can do something quickly to save the sea , the beaches and the creatures in it. Thank you for waking us all aware of this tragedy. Stay blessed my friend.

  3. W are told that everything is being done to avert this disaster but I really think it is already a disaster. And who is to blame?
    Currently there are people/experts flying in from around the world to help. Let’s hope something new has been learned since the Gulf of Mexico.

  4. jacquelincangro

    Oh boy. This doesn’t sound good. I hope that the responsible party will own up to this terrible fiasco and try to stave off the damage as much as possible.

    • Well the news programmes here have been full of it today. Graeme Butler quoted in this post, has said that there is a mass of birds around the stricken vessel including an Albatross, What a disaster is about to happen here!

  5. How terrible! Having gone through a similar accident in the Gulf of Mexico not that long ago, I know the awful consequences.

  6. oh no. this is just heartbreaking. how ironic that I just finished watching the movie Grey Owl. sigh. will we ever learn?

  7. Was the movie about the man Grey Owl who I understand was actually an Englishman? I haven’t seen the movie but have read of this man and his messages. As I have said in answer to a comment from Jacquelin there are birds massing around the stricken ship including the mighty Albatross. The mind shies away from the destruction that may/will be caused by this leak. As you ask – will we ever learn?

  8. Oh Judith my prayers are with you! The oil is devastating enough but the threat of hazardous cargo whatever it may be sounds horrible. I wish I had the words to let you know how awful I feel for you and every living thing there!

    • Thank you Chris. I have tuned into the hourly newscasts but haven’t heard another comment about ‘hazardous cargo’. If I believed in the conspiracy theories I might believe this is one, or at least something being covered up.

  9. Sometimes progress, or what we think of as progress, sends us reeling backwards. I am praying for quick action and response to this event and that all manner of life is protected from irreparable harm.

  10. It’s GREED . . . pure and simple.

    When will THEY ever learn?

  11. Yes – greed pure and simple as you say. And no, I guess they will NEVER learn.

  12. How horrible! Sounds a lot like the oil spill we had here in the states, but even worse, possibly 😦

  13. Thats a real worry. I really hope they sort it out soon before the marine life is damaged

  14. This is sad and disheartening.

  15. I don’t understand how this continues to happen. When one disaster strikes, learn from it, create safety laws/abide by them…after past events, this sort of thing can only be due to “carelessness or greed”- it’s easier for them to make 1 shipment and/or cheaper. This sort of accident is “forseeable.” The company should be held 100 percent accountable and there should be strict consequences for all future shipments dealing with this sort of “hazardous” material. There should be some very strict “customs” they have to go through before entering open waters. What are you carrying? How much does it weigh? What are the health/nature risks should something go terribly wrong? Slap them with a heavy fine should they go over lb allowance, etc. This makes me angry and sad.

    • They just keep doing the same things over and over and getting the same results. A man who saw the whole thing from his living room, said the ship was in the wrong place. How does that happen? We hear that it was on auto pilot so where were the sailors?

  16. This is awful – what can we do? When we will learn – I mean, really learn? My heart aches for nature.

  17. Oh Judith, this is so sad. Sometimes (maybe most times) I think man is the biggest threat to earth and life. And of course, our so-called accidents are usually the result of ignorance or stupidity. I cannot think of any other animal who sets out hell bent for self destruction.

    • Thanks Dor. The situation doesn’t seem to be under control but we hear soothing words from politicians and others. Much good soothing words do!

  18. I’m sorry to hear about the spill. I always get sad/angry when oil spills happen (sad because of what it does to the wildlife and our oceans, and mad because it keeps happening.

    I hope they are able to contain the mess soon enough to spare some of the wildlife.

    • We just don’t learn do we? The wildlife is already affected and who knows where/when it will end. Another Gulf of Mexico crisis is looming.

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  20. Very little pristine about Florida’s beaches. Dominated by rows of sun bleached dominoes(high rise condominiums) which I hope the next hurricane will topple row after row.

    • Fortunately our town planners have seen what happened in both Florida and Queensland and we have few high rise blocks anywhere along our coasts.
      I shall watch out for the effects of the next hurricane!

  21. Good Lord! I hope they correct the problem and clear up the oil spill quickly. We haven’t even heard of it here so who knows what all the details are… Please keep us posted. Yikes!

    • It is becoming a major disaster. Seventy containers have fallen off the ship overnight. The seas are rising 5-6 metre swells, and the weather forecast is for more high winds, high seas and rain. Couldn’t be worse!

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