August 10th, 2016

Fears for Kimberley Coast after Oil Ship Grounding

Oil and gas boat grounded

Oil and gas boat grounded

 

Media Release

Fears for Kimberley Coast after Oil Ship Grounding

The grounding of an oil field supply ship in the early hours of the morning at Roebuck Bay in the Kimberley has sparked new fears about the risks that oil and gas drilling could pose to the Kimberley Coast, the world’s last pristine tropical coastline.

“Today’s events are a reminder that no matter how good regulation is, people still make mistakes,” said Martin Pritchard, Director of Broome based conservation group Environs Kimberley, “In the oil and gas industry, those mistakes can mean deadly oil spills with untold damage to the environment, fisheries and communities.”

“The Kimberley Coast is pristine, and it is also a dangerous area for navigation with some of the world’s biggest and strongest tides.  There is a very real risk of damage if the number of supply vessels and rigs operating near the coast is increased.”

“The Kimberley Coast is the last great pristine tropical coastline left on the planet, we can’t afford to put it at risk.”

Environs Kimberley are working with an alliance of conservation groups to secure protection for the Kimberley in a Great Kimberley Marine Park that includes a network of marine sanctuary zones.

“It is vital that the Government urgently implement proposed marine parks along the coast and ensure a world class network of marine sanctuaries to protect the Kimberley Coast.”

Plans for marine sanctuaries in the Kimberley’s state waters are progressing but as yet no protection is in place on the Kimberley Coast.   Plans for marine sanctuaries in the adjacent offshore waters controlled by the Commonwealth Government have been stalled by a Federal Government review.

“The Great Barrier Reef is protected from oil and gas development and has a world class network of marine sanctuaries, the Kimberley Coast is equally as special and deserves the same protection,” said Mr Pritchard.

The worst oil and gas accident near the Kimberley Coast was the 2009 Montara Oil spill that poured oil into the ocean for 74 days before the leak was controlled.  Smaller spills, or the grounding of supply vessels that also lead to damage to reefs or pollution incidents if fuel tanks or cargo are damaged, are also a risk.

Media contact

Martin Pritchard 0427 548 075

Director, Environs Kimberley

Photo credit: Damian Kelly Photography

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