An unknown amount of oil leaked into Tauranga Harbour on Monday from a pipeline, with sludgy, black clumps of oil found as far away as Maungatapu.
We haven’t learned. Just two months ago, 300 litres of oil spilled into the sea off Taranaki. Now, we have another spill, but this time it’s inside the harbour of New Zealand’s sixth biggest city – and our biggest port.
The slick damaged ships and boats moored in the harbour. The docks themselves are still ‘caked’ with oil, and the clean up crew haven’t started work there, because of high winds and waves.
An ocean-going Māori waka, Hine Moana, suffered some of the worst damage, but crew member Pat Mohi sees thebigger picture:
“This is one of New Zealand’s biggest ports – if we can’t contain this, how are we going to deal with off-shore drilling? I don’t think we can really take the risk.”
If we can’t even contain the oil in the pipes under the docks of our biggest port, how can we hope to control a serious spill in the ocean off our coasts? And if we can’t control a serious spill in their habitat, what hope is left for the last 55 Maui’s dolphins?
We’re not going to get it all.