12 November 2018

Mass Balloon Releases Must Stop…

Mass baloon releases a problem I hear you say…

Yes, latex balloons have long been considered a wildlife hazard but in particular they are a threat to marine wildlife, expecially mammals like dolphins and reptiles like turtles which mistake this floating garbage for food.

It is claimed that latex balloons that rise to around 5,000 feet finally shatter into small pieces that present little threat to wildlife. However, those that fail to rise and find their way earth are carried via water courses down to the sea where they are often mistaken for living prey and find their way into the gut of marine creatures causing blockage and death.

A less obvious problem comes from the hideous, virtually unbreakable string so often used to tether balloons. This has been associated with death in birds and smaller mammals by getting wrapped around their necks or legs.

Not unsurprisingly, the balloon industry and others with vested interest claim that mass balloon releases can’t possibly be a hazard to wildlife and that mass releases should not be curtailed. Didn’t really expect them to say anything else did you?

Click on the title link for more information.


Irish Oil Spill Russians Admit Responsibility…

After some high level talks between the Russian Federation and The Irish Coastguard the Russians have finally admitted responsibility for the oil spill that took place 10 days ago south of The Fastnet Rock and Lighthouse.

The Russians claim this took place when the bilges were “inadvertently” pumped. An estimated 150,000 gallons of waste oil and lubricant classified as “light crude” was pumped into the sea causing one of the greatest pollution scares in Ireland for a decade.

The slick, currently 40 miles south of Cork harbour and travelling east is thought to disipate further over the next few days and is unlikely to present a serious threat to the southern coastline.

Rafting bird species such as guillemots and razorbills caught up in the slick while it remains at sea will almost certainly die.

The Russians are thought to be currently considering “contributing” to the estimated €250,000 costs associated with monitoring this slick in the days following the discharge.

The initial response and subsequent action taken by authorities is considered to be poor as weather conditions during last week would have made skimming some of the oil from the surface of the sea a possibility provided action was taken sufficiently quickly.


Latest News on South Coast Oil Spill…

Recent tests on oil samples from the south coast oil spill indicate this is a “light crude”. The oil spill is currently around 50 miles south of Cork Harbour and moving, according to the Marine Institute, at around five nautical miles per day in a generally easterly direction.

A delegation from the Russian Federation including representatives from the Russian Navy continue high level discussions with Irish Government officials today. The Irish position appears to be that the 46,000 tonne Russian Aircraft carrier The Admiral Kuznetsov, the flagship of the Russian Navy, was responsible for the oil spill during refuelling operations. Although the Russian Federation deny responsibility for the spill they do admit that it could have occured during “cleaning” operations!

With winds predominantly from the northwest it is hoped that this oil spill will not make landfall along the Irish soutyh coast and disperse naturally at sea. Damage to rafting birds like guillemots and razorbill and even puffins will be significant while the slick remains at sea undispersed.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) the Irish sea fisheries board are conducting tests on the extensive shellfish industry along the south coast to establish if any contamination has taken place during this incident.


More on the Oil Slick off West Cork…

Latest estimates put the oil spill at 1000 tonnes which equates to over 300,000 gallons. Russia is now denying they have anything to do with the spillage and if coast guard reports are accurate are preparing to leave the scene tomorrow.

Estimates put the slick as moving eastwards and fears are growing that this may make landfall along the south Waterford coast and even continue as far as west Wales if it does not break up and disperse before that.

We believe more should be done to contain the slick with booms followed by skimming with specially designed gear to remove as much of the oil spill as possible before the weather breaks.


Oil Spill Potentially a Serious Problem…

The oil spill off the southwest coastline has now been confirmed by RTE news as only 80kms off The Fastnet Rock. Authorities believe that the chance of it coming ashore is low but there is no evidence that dispersion activities are taking place at this time. Up to 300 tonnes is thought to have been discharged into the sea and the slick currently covers around 4 miles by 5 miles.

There appears to be little coverage of this item on local radio news.

If this slick, of what we believe to be bunker oil spilt during refueling activites between two Russian warships, comes ashore in west Cork it will deal a severe blow to the hard pressed tourist industry in this part of Ireland…

We really need to hear how the authorities are going to handle this clean up and how the slick is going to be dispersed. Astonishingly it appears that foreign warships are exempt from Ireland’s marine pollution directives.

Wildlife will die as a result of this spill but it represents a much higher threat should this oil come ashore. Offshore bird life is currently most at risk.

…keep you posted.


Oil Spill off the West Coast…250 miles off Kerry…

“…An oil pollution alert has been declared off the South West coast following an incident in which two Russian warships were involved in a fuel spill accident.

The Coastguard service says up to 12 tons of oil spilled into the sea about 250 miles off the Kerry coast. A 4 mile by 4 mile slick has developed in the area. Samples of the oil were taken by other boats operating in the area and were transferred to the Shannon based helicopter…”

Notified to us by

Ciaran O’Byrne
“Drivetime with Mary Wilson”
RTE Radio 1