Beach oil bottle find sparks investigation

Augusta Margaret River Times

Capes beach cleaners Tangaroa Blue are claiming a small win after an investigation tracked industrial oil bottles found on local beaches to a freighter docked in South Australia.

During October’s WA Beach Clean-Up, two bunker oil bottles were discovered by volunteers on the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park beach.

According to Tangaroa Blue managing director Heidi Taylor, the intact bottles were full of marine fuel oil with labels listing a vessel name, date and crew members’ names.

The discovery triggered an Australian Maritime Safety Authority investigation, which tracked Panama bulk carrier Gloria Island to Thevenard in SA.

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“This highlights the value of citizen scientists’ observations while out in the field,” Ms Taylor said.

“Our volunteers are not rubbish collectors, but part of a national marine debris CSI team.”

The AMSA review included interviewing Gloria Island crew and officers, with no reports of untoward behaviour and insufficient evidence to detain the vessel. An improvement notice was issued under the 2012 Navigation Act directing improvements in some safety management processes.

AMSA standards general manager Brad Groves said the close working relationship with Tangaroa Blue allowed the agency to act quickly when volunteers tendered evidence of pollution.

Reports can be made to AMSA’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra on 1800 641 792 or via amsa.gov.au/envi ronment/reporting-ship-sourc ed-pollution.

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