Cepa to assess clean-up of oil spill


THE Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa) will assess the clean-up of a recent oil spill in Port Moresby next year, Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister John Pundari says.
In April, about 2000 litres of oil escaped into the Port Moresby harbour from Puma Energy’s bulk oil storage facility at Kanudi.
Puma Energy immediately deployed an industry specialist oil spill response team from Singapore to direct cleanup operations.
Oil containment booms were deployed around the spill site and cleanup operations started in the harbour and along the coast from Koki to Paga Point and Manubada Island.
Pundari, in a statement, said: “The Conservation and Environment Protection Authority immediately conducted a rapid coastal boat survey of the affected area, which extended over five days.
“The survey reported that the spill had reached beaches and shorefronts in and around Port Moresby harbour and extended further along many of the coastal beaches and parts of the shoreline between Konebada and Pari, including Vabukori and Gabutu.
“The clean-up operations took about eight days and involved an intense effort by many volunteers over this period. Cepa understands that the cleanup was led by Puma Energy.
“The residual oil and oil films remaining after the physical removal of most of the oily material were left in place to break down naturally over time rather than treating them with oil dispersants and chemical cleaners.
“Chemical methods such as oil dispersants and cleaners were not used to remove the residual oil because of concerns about their potential toxicity which can cause more widespread and long-term impacts on the coastal fauna and flora.
“By avoiding the use of chemicals and allowing natural processes to complete the cleanup, Cepa anticipates the recovery of the coastal ecosystem will be quicker and more complete.
“Following completion of the cleanup operations, government and the petroleum industry conducted several round table discussions to evaluate the lessons learnt and identify improvements to the oil spill response process.
“For its part, Cepa intends to conduct a follow up survey of the impacted areas early in 2018 to assess how effective the cleanup of the residual oily materials by natural processes has been.”