Oil spill adjacent to UNESCO World Heritage site, Solomon Islands

  • Media release

As a close friend to Solomon Islands, Australiaremains extremely concerned by the ongoing risk of a major oil spill from thegrounded bauxite bulk carrier MV Solomon Trader.

Rennell Island is home to a UNESCO listed WorldHeritage site and the people of Rennell rely on the ocean and natural resourcesof the Island for their livelihoods.

Australian experts from the Australian MaritimeSafety Authority (AMSA) deployed last week to assist the Solomon IslandsGovernment to confirm ongoing oil leakage from the vessel. Up to 75 tonnes ofheavy fuel oil from the ship has dispersed across the Island's sea andshoreline, contaminating the ecologically delicate area. More than 600 tonnesof heavy fuel oil remains on the stricken vessel.

Given escalatingecological damage, and a lack of action by commercial entities involved, theSolomon Islands Government has requested Australia's assistance.Inresponse, we are mobilising an offshore pollution mitigation operation,including equipment, vessels and specialised personnel, under the leadership ofAMSA and working alongside the Solomon Islands government's own efforts.

Australia continues to stand behind the SolomonIslands Government's efforts to ensure that commercial parties responsible forthis incident take action and are held responsible.

Australians and our neighbours across the Pacificknow the economic and environmental importance of our oceans. We expectcompanies operating in our region to meet international standards and takeseriously their environmental obligations.

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