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.