Divers to check diesel spillage risk
Sat, 25 Aug 2012 9:19a.m.
Divers are to check the hull of a grounded fishing vessel in Foveaux Strait to make sure there is no danger of the 3000 litres of diesel in its tanks spilling into the sea.
Southland Regional Council spokesman Dallas Bradley said an oil-spill response team was confident no diesel had leaked yet from the 24 metre Torea, which ran aground off Ruapuke Island yesterday with 26 people on board.
Mr Bradley said an aerial photograph showed a small sheen of oil off the port side, but that was likely to have come from an air vent out of a fuel tank.
"We will be talking to the ship's owner and insurance company about their plans to salvage the Torea. Our priority is to prevent any diesel spilling from the vessel," Mr Bradley said.
"This may mean transferring the fuel oil off the vessel first, or blocking the vents."
Mr Bradley said he had also been in touch with the Department of Conservation and local iwi, including Ruapuke whanau, which was standard procedure.
The Torea was sitting on the seabed about 15m off the island, which is the biggest between Stewart Island and the mainland. It was listing to port with most of the deck underwater.
Mr Bradley said the vessel was stable and it was in a reasonably sheltered place given the forecast winds.
It began taking on water after hitting a rock near Green Island about midday yesterday and the skipper decided to ground it. A Bluff Coastguard vessel ferried the 23 passengers and three crew back to Bluff.
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