The remarkable size of the Australian continent, coupled with the lack of transport options, bred some of the world’s first, and finest, bush pilots. The only method of reaching the far-flung properties and farms in a reasonable amount of time, in the case of injury or disaster, was to come by air. Some of the tales from these pioneering airmen defy belief.
Clearly, the best solution to marine oil spills is prevention. Starting at the source means responsible well creation, tanker maintenance, and constant vigilance during transfers, among many others, as the scale of the problem then is somewhat manageable. With that said, there are times when failsafes have failed, and cleanup is our only option.
In the midst of heavy Indian Ocean swells late one night, the crew of the Greek-registered Kirki heard a loud crack emanating from the number one bulkhead. Three days of poor weather had resulted in the entire bow section, which had been ploughing full-force in to Force 8 wind and waves, to fracture, and which moments later broke away completely. With the number 1 hold haemorrhaging light crude oil in to the blue waters off Western Australia, and arcing from electrical wires setting off fires, rescue oil spill cleanup teams were engaged, in Perth and Geelong.