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Wendy Carlisle: Evidence destroyed (Timor Sea Oil Spill)

December 4, 2010

I highly recommend that anyone interested in the impact of oil spills reads Wendy Carlisle’s article on The Drum – Evidence destroyed: the luckiest oil spill – detailing the tragic mismanagement and shameful response by the Australian Government to the Timor Sea Oil Spill.

From Carlisle’s article:

Borthwick [Head of the Inquiry] did not conclude the environmental damage was minimal.

“It is unlikely that the full impact of the blowout will ever be known. This reflects the vast and remote area affected by the spill; the absence of solid reliable baseline data on species and ecosystems, and the slow response in putting together a monitoring plan.”

The crime scene had been destroyed, by time, by wind and by the seas.

Referring to scientific monitoring reports from both the oil company and the Government which cited one dead sea snake, 22 dead birds but no confirmed reports of oiled whales or cetaceans or other affected wildlife as a result of the spill, Borthwick noted:

“Mention has been made in submissions to this inquiry of very limited impacts of the blowout on wildlife. It is unlikely that this reporting depicts the extent of the impact on species.”

He suggested dead wildlife would have sunk while nobody was looking.

“Animals that may have died in oil-affected water may not have stayed afloat for very long, making it unlikely that they could be detected in large numbers in the vast area of open water over which the oil and oil residue was dispersed.

Below the post there was a telling comment that also warrants repeating:

oily: 03 Dec 2010 6:00:48pm

Hardly surprising stuff…anyone who has worked offshore will know that the ‘brute force & ignorance” regime is still alive and well. The huge amount of money that ticks over every second is a huge pressure to cut corners and hide mistakes, most of the time we get away with it.. some times S**T happens

As for the government regulating it… they have no idea what really happens…

My recent post Timor Sea oil spill inquiry: no research, no findings, no responsibility might also be of interest.

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