A major clean-up operation is underway on Australia’s northeast coast after a cargo ship spilled oil and fertiliser during a fierce storm.
Oil slicks have begun washing up on Moreton Island and on beaches along the Sunshine Coast after 31 containers of ammonium nitrate plunged into the sea. As cyclone Hamish raged, the containers smashed into the “Pacific Adventurer” puncturing the ship’s hull and releasing 30 tonnes of oil into the water. A slick 15 kilometres long and two metres wide formed and made shore blackening the areas tourist beaches. Maritime officials fear the fertiliser could cause environmental damage, suffocating fish and killing off natural habitats. Aircraft have been deployed to locate the missing containers.