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EPA update on environmental regulation for Ocean Monarch oil rig

‚ÄčThe Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is following up concerns raised about the biosecurity risk posed by Ocean Monarch oil rig during its temporary mooring in the River Derwent.

EPA Director, Mr Wes Ford contacted the owners of the Ocean Monarch mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU), Diamond Offshore General, in late November to discuss the need for the EPA to undertake a visual inspection of the hull.

The purpose of the inspection is to check for the presence of marine pests such as the introduced Colonial Sea Squirt, Didemnum perlucidum, which is now found in Western Australian waters.

The EPA engaged appropriately qualified contractors to conduct the inspection and the Director sought the owners' approval for them to access the hull on 18-19 December.

On 13 December, the owners advised Mr Ford that the company was unable to provide access and would not approve the EPA's visual inspection in December.

On 14 December, Mr Ford wrote to the company and directed them to undertake the visual inspection and provide a report to the EPA within 21 days.

On 17 December, the owners advised Mr Ford that they would not be able to undertake the visual inspection.

Mr Ford is now considering the legal requirements for the EPA to undertake the visual inspection of the rig prior to its departure from the River Derwent.

Copies of the Environment Protection Notice (EPN) and the Environmental Management Plan(EMP) for the Ocean Monarch's temporary mooring in the River Derwent are available on the EPA website.