Oil spillage assessment underway

Oil Spill along Renbel’s beach. Photo: Australian High Commission.

A forward team comprising officers from various government ministries and departments are now on the ground on Rennell island to conduct assessments on the oil spillage situation there.

Following more than 20 days since bauxite bulk carrier MV Solomon Trader ran aground in Rennell island, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority confirmed oiling around the ship has now moved and begun to spread across the surrounding sea and shoreline, contaminating the ecologically delicate area.

But Director of the National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates confirmed teams had been on the round since day one of the situation.

The team comprised officers from National Disaster Management Office, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification.

The Oil Spillage site. Photo: Australian High Commission.

Mr Yates said NDMO’s role in the team was to establish a coordination centre especially near the wreck site in Lavangu.

“Now on the side of NDMO in all these, our responsibility here is to ensure that we set up a proper coordination arrangement on the ground so part of the forward team currently being deployed to Rennell is to set up a on-site coordination centre at Lavangu,” he said.

“Currently all teams are residing in Tingoa and are travelling two hours everyday to the site. We are trying to have our people stationed at Lavangu closer to the site of the wreck and so forward teams are there now working on setting this thing up”.

The NDMO Director said it would be a multi-agency operations Centre.

“It’s going to be a multi-agency operations centre that will have government officials talking to salvagers, the company, our advisors there as well and so basically the government has three operational objectives, one; to get the fuel out of the boat, second; to clean up the environment and that includes recovery and activities after the cleaning up and then to remove the wreck,” he said.

“Those are key messages from the government or what the government wants done and the advise given to the company”.

By: Rickson Bau. 

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