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Oil spill impacts on marina

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Further impact from Monday’s oil spill has emerged at the Tauranga Bridge Marina, where oil from under the Mount wharf has contaminated berths, boats, fenders and lines.

And while the Bridge Marina Travelift may be back in operation, the dock itself is dirty and the water contaminated says director Lucy Goodchap.

Click the image above to watch the video

Many bridge marina boats, lines and fenders are fouled with oil. Photos and video: Tracy Hardy.

“The boats we will be pulling out are contaminated also,” says Lucy. “We are going to pull a couple out and have a look.”

A meeting this morning with Mobil representatives was reassuring, says Lucy, after the oil giants accepted responsibility for the leak and issued an apology.

“We are expecting to have some help and some guidance,” she adds.

The issue is removing heavy fuel oil from gelcoat - the shiny white coating on fibreglass hulls which becomes more porous as it gets older.

“It’s just going to be trial and error really,” admits Lucy.

The clean-up focus has now moved to the Tauranga Bridge Marina now that the heavy fuel oil under the Mount Maunganui wharf has been dealt with by the response team.

Mobil’s loss adjuster Crawford’s will nown take all reasonable steps to clean up the mess, says an email to bridge marina customers from marina manager Tony Arnold today.

Bridge Marina Travelift is working on clean-up solutions in regard to heavy fuel oil.

“Do not do it yourself,” says Tony. “Do not clean your gel coat with solvents - you will damage it and not be covered.”

Absorbent pads provided by the Bay of Plenty regional Council clean-up team can be used to clean the bulk of the oil off boats, keeping in mind the warning about the use of solvents.

All contaminated pads must be sealed in plastic bags and disposed of in the contaminated waste skip bin located adjacent to the Travelift office.

Oil coated dock lines.

Lifting out the oiled boats for cleaning is also a lot more complicated than a normal lift, says Tony.

“Slings have to be changed during the process and nothing is permitted to enter the drainage system,” says Tony.

“Please contact your insurance company prior to haul-out so you are clear that you are insured.

“If your boat is too big for our Travelift, we are talking to Hutcheson Boat Builders and Tauranga City Council about craning out at their facility at Sulphur Point.”

Mobil’s people are talking to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council oil spill clean-up crew about cleaning.

“We will also have to clean up all the oil that is present in the marina and it may be necessary for us to re-locate you while we clean up around your berth,” says Tony. “We will continue to keep you up to speed on this process.”

Bridge Marina staff first saw the oil slick when it was 20 metres away from the marina’s northern attenuator on Monday morning. It was blown into the marina on breaking waves being driven by 30 knots northerly, and through the gaps in the floats.

“We first saw it 20 metres out, and then it was in here,” says Tony. The regional council’s pollution hotline was called at 10.50am.

Mobil has now provided a new claims number on: 0800 692 524 or email:

The 0800 claims number should be used for boats, ropes and fenders.

Bridge marina staff are also busy with phone calls and emails from people overseas who have no idea how bad the problem is, says Tony.

Mobil Oil New Zealand Lead Country Manager Andrew McNaught says Mobil regrets this event has occurred.

“We apologise for the incident and for any concern and inconvenience caused to the community,” says Andrew.

“We would like to assure them we are working as quickly as possible to safely manage the situation, to clean up the leaked fuel oil and minimise the impact on the environment.

“Mobil appreciates the efforts of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council in responding promptly and effectively to the incident. We will reimburse the council for any direct costs incurred in the spill response and clean-up.

“We are aware that several boats have been impacted by the fuel oil. Mobil is liaising with the local marina operator about boat cleaning procedures. We recommend that clean-up is handled by an expert.”

Mobil has established a process to deal with claims and will consider claims for damage directly resulting from the leaked oil.

The yacht Journey Hut is covered in blown oil in the spray from breaking waves.

Comments on SunLive

Putting right

Posted on 03-05-2015 10:31 | By Kaimai

Good on Mobil for admitting, apologising and ensuring they will put it right. Fail to see how the Port Company is involved if someone else admits to the problem.
SO ---

Posted on 29-04-2015 22:29 | By The Caveman

Is I trust that Mobile is going to pay for the TOTAL clean up and damage - best that ALL that have been oiled up" now "lawyer up" real quick and dump on both Mobile and the PORT COMPANY that obviously did not have the necessary ship bunkering processes in place. ONE hour of fuel loss into the harbour UN-NOTICED - and they claim that they dont know how much - RUBBISH - no oil company pumps fuel without knowing exactly how much they pumped... - total lack of control and total lack of RISK management. Seems to me that its a case of TOTAL COST to Mobile AND an massive fine to both Mobile AND the PORT COMPANY
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