Oil spill endangers wildlife at dock

A BIG clear-up was underway today after a major oil spill in the port of Ipswich.Wildlife – including swans – was badly affected after about two tons of heavy oil leaked into the water on the Cliff Quay terminal.

A BIG clear-up was underway today after a major oil spill in the port of Ipswich.

Wildlife – including swans – was badly affected after about two tons of heavy oil leaked into the water on the Cliff Quay terminal.

Teams of experts managed to contain the spill by erecting booms, but a major investigation was due to be launched to find out where the oil came from.

Ipswich port manager Robert Smith said the incident was classed as a "Tier Two" spill because his officials had to call in outside experts to help them deal with it.

"We have informed the National Coastguard Agency, although they are not involved. But we have called in our usual external contractors and we are managing to control the spill.

"The tide and the wind have helped us to keep the spill together until we managed to get the booms around the affected area.

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"But there has been a serious affect on wildlife in that particular area – the RSPCA has been called in because several swans have been affected and will need to be cleaned up," he said.

The spill was from a vessel moored at the Cliff Quay terminal, and while efforts were concentrated on clearing up the oil other work continued in the area.

The clean-up work was easy to see from the other side of the River Orwell.

"This is a big incident so far as we are concerned and we are taking it very seriously.

"We shall be speaking the master of a vessel there as soon as possible," said Mr Smith.

Pollution incidents are graded according to their seriousness. "A Tier One incident is if there's a small spill of fuel from a yacht which we can handle ourselves," said Mr Smith.

"A Tier Two incident is declared if we have to get in our outside contractors to help us contain and deal with the incident.

"If there was a Tier Three incident we would have to involve the National Coastguard Agency at every stage.

"We have informed them and the Harwich Haven Authority – but we are dealing with the incident alongside our contractors," he added.

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

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