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Update on penguin rescue efforts from oil spill in south Atlantic

  • Posted on: 6 April 2011
  • By: DWG

Originally posted on Daily Kos. Reprinted here with permission at our request. - GH

This is a follow-up to an earlier diary about the threat posed by oil spilled by a freighter that broke up off Nightingale Island, home to approximately half of the world's endangered Northern Rockhopper penguin population.

Here is a brief recap of key events. On March 16, for reasons no one has been able to determine, a fully loaded freighter containing soybeans slammed into the rocks off Nightingale Island in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago (a World Heritage site) in the south Atlantic. The freighter broke in half and sank, dumping at least 1500 tons of fuel oil in the seas, which formed a heavy oil slick around the island, threatening marine life. The penguins attracted the most attention as they are a critically endangered. Because of the remote location, it took wildlife rescue teams nearly a week to reach the island by boat and set up operations. Wildlife biologists estimate that half of the 20,000 penguin colony have had some exposure to the oil and over 300 oiled penguins have already died.

One of thousands of Rockhopper penguins found oiled

"Unlike previous spills of this size, it didn't happen way out to sea and gradually approach such a vital conservation area. It struck right at the heart of the penguin colony and it's devastating to them."

- Sarah Sanders, Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds

Thanks to outreach and updates by marine biologist David Guggenheim, the difficult wildlife rescue operation is starting to get broader attention by NGOs and the media. CNN has finally covered the story.

 

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Atlantic Oil Spill Near Nightingale and Inaccessible Island

  • Posted on: 26 March 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

Via a piece from March 22 on Boston.com,1 another environmental disaster:

LONDON—Thousands of endangered penguins have been coated with oil after a cargo ship ran aground and broke up on a remote British South Atlantic territory, officials and conservationists said Tuesday.

The shipwreck also threatens the lobster fishery that provides a livelihood to one of the world's most isolated communities.

The Malta-registered MS Olivia was grounded on Nightingale Island in the Tristan da Cunha chain last week. The ship had been traveling from Brazil to Singapore and contained 1,500 metric tons (1,650 tons) of crude oil and a cargo of 60,000 metric tons (66,000 tons) of soya beans.

The ship's 22 crew members were rescued before it broke in two.

[...Read more...]

Nightingale Island is part of the Tristan da Cunha chain of islands located about halfway between South America and Africa. The article notes that the British government has expressed concern over the potential environmental/ecological and economic damage, but that it is too early to tell what the impact of the accident will be.

The image included in the Globe piece shows three oil-covered rock-hopper penguins who do not look very pleased at all with recent events.

Footnote references below the fold.

 

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The Sovereign State of BP - Down for the Count?

  • Posted on: 16 June 2010
  • By: MichaelCollins

Michael Collins

British Petroleum has operated as though it were a sovereign state since its inception.  When they blew the well at their Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, it never occurred to them that they would have to take orders from anybody.  But that may change largely due to their inability to stop the flow of oil after nearly sixty days of gushing.

President Obama was clear in his speech last night.  If any entity is going down as a result of the catastrophe, it will be BP.  Today, Obama meets with BP's Chairman of the Board, Carl-Henric Svanberg, and the man he told the chairman to fire, Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward.

Two sovereign states will collide.  The outcome is a foregone conclusion.

Too Big to Exist - Big Oil

  • Posted on: 16 May 2010
  • By: MichaelCollins

Michael Collins

There is no viable solution insight for the out of control oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.  The stunning failure of British Petroleum (BP) raises the question - are these oil giants too big to exist?  Are they too dangerous to function in our presence?  BP has four permanent deep water  structures and 28 boreholes operating at a water depth of greater than 5000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico.  What's next?

British Petroleum (BP) had the resources to drill the well but lacked the planning and ability to deal with its failure.  The oil giant's performance inspired ridicule by Jon Stewart in a recent Daily Show comment ("There will be blame").  The White House was not amused, however.  Nobel Prize winning physicist and Secretary of the Energy, Steven Chu, is now in Houston with a team of cutting edge scientists tasked with mentoring BP and devising a viable solution as the oil giant continues to falter.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill flow 5 times worse than thought

  • Posted on: 29 April 2010
  • By: Unenergy

According to Tampa Bay dot com
Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico now worse than feared

The Coast Guard said late Wednesday that a new leak has been found at the site where an oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rear Adm. Mary Landry says that 5,000 barrels a day are now estimated to be leaking, meaning 210,000 gallons are spilling into the gulf. Officials had been saying for days that it was 42,000 gallons.

At 10.8 million gallons for the Exxon Valdez spill, it would have taken 252 days for this deepwater spill at 42,000 gallons per day to match the worst human caused oil spill in history. However at 210,000 gallons, this record could well be met within 42 days.

Offshore drilling disaster: West Atlas Oil Rig now on Fire

  • Posted on: 2 November 2009
  • By: Unenergy

Chevron Amazon Disaster on 60 Minutes/UPDATE with clip

  • Posted on: 4 May 2009
  • By: bob zimway

We're in the home stretch for the legal proceedings against the largest environmental  disaster of this new century. Some tribal people in the Ecuadorian Amazon have got a strong case against the giant Chevron Corporation of the Estados Unidos for damages of up to 27 billion dollars.

Hold this image. Some barefoot indigenous folks who never drove a car, who haven't even seen many cars, are being led by a heroic Ecuadorian lawyer in the case of his life, hell, in the case of Big Oil's life and all of the trans-national oil companies' lives. Because later this year, when the mallet comes down, natural life for the planet - Pachamama, as empowered by the Ecuadorian constitution - will have stepped from the shadows to take her place alongside humanity, and humanity itself down to the most anonymous forager in the steaming jungle will have finally won out over the greed, arrogance and power of some of the planet's most abusive corporate elites.

This is not hyperbole.