Oil spill clean up continues

SWANS are today being cleaned - and the last of the oil being mopped up – in the clean-up operation after a major oil spill in the port of Ipswich.Mopping sheets were being put down on the surface of the water to soak up the remaining oil residue.

SWANS are today being cleaned - and the last of the oil being mopped up – in the clean-up operation after a major oil spill in the port of Ipswich.

Mopping sheets were being put down on the surface of the water to soak up the remaining oil residue.

While RSPCA officers – which by the end of yesterday had collected 28 swans – were today working to catch the rest of the swans that had been coated in oil.

The spill happened when two-and-a-half tonnes of diesel leaked into the water on the Cliff Quay terminal early yesterday.


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The incident was classed as a Tier Two spill – the second of three levels of seriousness - and teams of experts worked to contain the oil by erecting booms.

Most of the heavy residue was removed from the River Orwell by yesterday evening.

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Robert Smith, Ipswich port manager, said: "People were working until around 6pm last night and started again at 6am this morning.

"By the close of play yesterday, most of the heavy oil had been pumped out and we stood the Haven Hornbill – from Harwich Haven Authority – down."

Mr Smith said that the booms would remain at least until the end of the day and that the clean up was now mainly a "mopping operation".

Mr Smith added that the clean-up operation is likely to soon be downgraded from a Tier Two spill.

He said: "The spill will probably be classed as Tier One during the course of the day. That means that the other agencies and contractors involved will be taken off and we will look at it with our own forces on a continuing light monitoring service."

The RSPCA is today continuing to help swans that were coated with oil.

Ann Grain, spokeswoman for the RSPCA, said all the swans plucked from the water yesterday were still alive and were being treated at the Norfolk Wildlife Centre.

She said: "We collected 28 swans by the end of yesterday but there are still swans out on the water.

"Today there will be three animal collection officers and an inspector trying to gather the remaining swans that have oil on them.

"Some of them evaded capture yesterday but they've got oil on them so they might be a bit weaker and easier to catch today.

"They're being cleaned inside and out. If they've ingested oil they're being given treatment for that while also having their feathers cleaned."

An investigation – including interviewing the master of the suspected vessel and comparing the leaked oil with that of the suspected vessel – is also due to take place.

What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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