22 July 2009
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is responding to a fuel spill in Waubs Bay at Bicheno.
EPA Director Warren Jones said the source of the spill is a fishing boat which sank in heavy seas on Monday this week.
"The boat is believed to have had up to 1500 litres of diesel in its tanks and the fuel is believed to be leaking through what's known as a 'breather' tube," Mr Jones said.
"Officers supporting the EPA travelled to Bicheno yesterday afternoon after receiving reports from the public of fuel leaking from the boat."
"An absorbent boom was deployed last night to try to collect and contain the diesel. At this stage it does not appear to be possible to stop the leak until the boat is salvaged."
"A short while ago our officers reported that it appears diesel is still leaking from the boat and can be seen on the water," Mr Jones said.
"In the current conditions, the fuel it is moving towards Waubs beach however at this point in time there is little evidence of it on the shore. Wildlife authorities have been alerted and are monitoring the area but at this stage there have been no reports of wildlife being affected."
"Should any wildlife be affected then we have contingency plans in place to manage any impacts on bird and marine mammal species."
Mr Jones says the EPA has been informed that steps are underway to salvage the fishing boat and that a salvage company is currently assessing conditions and working out the best way to remove the boat from the water.
"More booms have been placed around the vessel this morning. The weather forecast is for a southerly change today and we are hoping that will assist contain the spill and the salvage operation," Mr Jones said.