Friday, October 14, 2011

Black Tide. Troubled Times.

 Black Tide. Troubled Times. This has been a sad, sad week in NZ. The biggest maritime disaster in NZ waters and it's not over yet.

    

A few days ago the container ship RENA struck a well documented reef in our harbour. Since then 350 tonnes of oil have spewed into our precious ocean, swamping our beaches and poisoning the sea. Untold marine animal lives have been lost. People's livelihoods are at threat. It will take years to recover from this already...and this ship still has about 1500 tonnes of oil on board. The ship is breaking up, the containers are posing an additional threat as 88 of them are already bobbing in the sea or have crashed into the sea.


A volunteer helping to clean the beach. This photo was captured a few days ago. The beaches are now closed to the public and those that do volunteer are having to be trained and are having to take precautions against getting sick. This is nasty, toxic, devastating stuff.

The army has been called in. Since this photo was taken people on the beach are now being issued with face masks and protective suits. Volunteers and locals being exposed to the oil's fumes are becoming sick with headaches, respiratory problems, blurred vision..can you imagine how bad this is for our sea? The birds and fish? This is our heritage getting poisoned and it makes me sick that this is a MAN made disaster!

A poor bird, a shag that didn't make it. The last I read about 500 seabird had washed up dead, including rare albatross's and penguins. I am so sad. Rescue centres are set up for cleaning oil off birds, manned by trained volunteers. Unfortunately more dead birds are being found than alive ones. Fortunately no seals have been found. At this time of year whales are on their migratory path past the reef the boat hit, their natural route and food chains are disrupted and they have such a long way to go before they reach the Antarctic.
This beach, these waters are what Tauranga is built around. We live near the sea, play in the sea, eat from it. Not now. Black Tide and Troubled Times doesn't quite cover the gravity of this situation.

Two of my kids fishing from the wharf where boats now stay moored, unable to fish and unable to move in these waters for fear of hitting containers.

This beach where we collected shells, drew pictures, laughed, played, made memories...

Now looks like this...

No words can express the sadness and frustration felt so many of us.

There is good come of this, face book (where I got most of the images, public domain) has several support pages. Pages to discuss the disaster, pages for volunteers involved in both clean up and food runs for those on the beach. Local business donating food to feed the people cleaning up this awful mess, even teenagers organising the collection of baked good. People giving up there time to come together. Messages of support from ex-pat kiwis feeling the pain. Offers of accommodation for out-of-towners who've come to help. It makes me proud to see the kiwi spirit alive and fighting, it's just a shame that it's because of something so terrible. We have an election coming up and this disaster has thrown the issue of deep-sea oil drilling into the public spotlight. If we can't cope with this how could we cope with a deep sea leak? It's good to get people talking, debating and hopefully voting accordingly. When will we learn? Man did this! Not mother nature, not global warming. It was human activity.

I'm hoping to receive my call to volunteer tomorrow, people have to go in teams and do an hour training first.  I'll keep you posted, if you are reading this from NZ please support the Bay where you can, it will be very much appreciated.


If anyone see's a photo here taken by them and  is offended by my use of these photos please tell me and I will remove them. As far as I know all images are in the public domain, with the exception of my photos (photo's 6,7,8)  

6 comments:

Heavens2Betsy said...

I am so moved by the plight of your sea and shore. It really is a scene of such devastation. Heartbreaking. penny

iNd!@nA said...

awful. just awful.

Mick said...

While the immediate devastation is horrible, know that the sea itself will also be at work to get the mess cleaned up. As you may or may not know, British Petroleum's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 was mysteriously mitigated within a month or two by the sea itself. When working to clean up the wildlife and beaches remember that you, the conservationists, are doing good work and that the environmentalists (who never let a crisis go to waste) are not your friends in this.

Thoughtful stewardship and sound conservationist practices should be applauded. The socialist/communist agenda of the environmental left must not be tolerated.

La Dolce Vita said...

it is heart wrenching and we know how devastating it is after the BP spill in the gulf, it takes time, but all things come to pass... nothing comes to stay...

Penny said...

We have looked at images on our news in Oz with horror. All my thoughts are with you.

Claudine Intner said...

I am so sad to hear of the spill. How terrible! Sending prayers to NZ for a speedy clean up. Hope this never happens again.