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Bunker spill at Solomon Islands continue, more help sent

04 Mar 2019

The grounded bauxite bulk carrier MV Solomon Trader has to date leaked up to 75 metric tonnes (mt) of heavy fuel oil across Solomon Islands’ sea and shoreline, points out Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs on Sunday (3 March).

The Hon Marise Payne said Australia “remains extremely concerned by the ongoing risk of a major oil spill from the grounded bauxite bulk carrier MV Solomon Trader.”

She confirms more than 600 mt of heavy fuel oil remaining on the stricken vessel.

“Given escalating ecological damage, and a lack of action by commercial entities involved, the Solomon Islands Government has requested Australia’s assistance,” she notes.

“In response, we are mobilising an offshore pollution mitigation operation, including equipment, vessels and specialised personnel, under the leadership of AMSA and working alongside the Solomon Islands government’s own efforts.

“Australia continues to stand behind the Solomon Islands Government’s efforts to ensure that commercial parties responsible for this incident take action and are held responsible.

“Australians and our neighbours across the Pacific know the economic and environmental importance of our oceans. We expect companies operating in our region to meet international standards and take seriously their environmental obligations.”

Australian experts from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) deployed in the week ended 1 March to assist the Solomon Islands Government to confirm ongoing oil leakage from the vessel.

Bauxite bulk carrier MV Solomon Trader, carrying over 700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, ran aground in Solomon Islands' Rennell and Bellona Province on 5 February.

The Australian government believes there is a “high risk remaining heavy fuel oil on the vessel (currently estimated at over 600 tonnes) will be released into the surrounding area.”

Related: Bunker spill: “Solomon Trader” beached at Solomon Islands

Photo credit: Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Published: 4 March, 2019


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