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Collaborative Effort to Clean Up Diesel Leak at Bicheno

03 November 2009
A team effort combined to limit the environmental damage from a sinking vessel leaking diesel at Bicheno on the State's east coast. The EPA Director Warren Jones said officers assisting the EPA received a report from an employee of a nearby seafood company of a boat leaking diesel at The Gulch in Bicheno on Sunday morning. "Our officers asked staff from the Freycinet Parks and Wildlife offices to place absorbent boom around the vessel as a first response to contain the leaking diesel," Mr Jones said. "Officers assisting the EPA replaced the diesel-soaked boom with fresh supplies of equipment later in the day. The contaminated boom was bagged, binned and then removed from the area by the local council awaiting approved disposal." "Tasmania Police, along with local fishermen, used their boats to help break up the diesel already in the water." Diesel is light oil that evaporates more quickly if spread over a wide area. In a process known as 'prop-washing', boat propellers are used to agitate the diesel and help it to evaporate and disperse. Mr Jones said it was believed approximately 350 litres of diesel was lost in the spill, most of which was soaked up by the sorbent booms. The Tasmania Fire Service assisted the local crane and slipway operators who waited until high-tide to lift the boat out of the water and onto the slipway. "The boat remains on the slipway with absorbent boom around its rear as a precautionary measure," Mr Jones said. "The outcome is a good example of the collaborative nature of incident response for events such as a diesel or oil spill in Tasmanian waters and I thank everyone involved for their efforts," Mr Jones said. Mr Jones said the public is advised that a rainbow-coloured sheen and possibly the smell of diesel may be noticeable around the area for the next few days.
Bags of oil soaked boom ready awaiting collection for disposal.
The boat out of water on the slipway.
The Environment Division’s State Oil Pollution Control officer John Dobson removing soiled booms from the water after the vessel is on the slipway.