zoom An oil spill has been reported today in Whangarei Harbour, located on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, which appears to have stemmed from a system failure aboard a cargo ship, Northland’s Regional Harbourmaster says.Jim Lyle, Regional Harbourmaster for the Northland Regional Council, said authorities were alerted to the spill by Northport about 8.30am today.According to Lyle, at this stage the oil is understood to have come from a ship berthed at Northport and specialised oil containment booms had been put in place both around the vessel and to help protect the nearby coastal environment.“Due to an onboard systems failure, fuel oil appears to have escaped through the ballast system,” Lyle said.A team of several dozen responders, including regional council, Northport and Marsden Pt oil refinery staff, had been working to contain and recover what is roughly estimated to be about several hundred litres of fuel oil.Specialised equipment including boats and a purpose-built oil skimming barge ‘Taranui’ had also been deployed.Lyle said in an update that it appears the spill from the vessel was larger than initially suspected, but despite as much as several tonnes of oil potentially having escaped, authorities were confident the bulk had been recovered tonight.“As of this evening we’re confident we’ve got the bulk of the oil both from the sea and off the beach,” he explained.He estimated more than 10,000 litres of water contaminated with oil had been recovered from the sea, as well as a quantity of oil, oiled material and debris from the shoreline.As evening falls, crews were working a staged approach to remove oil from the hull of the vessel identified as the source of the spill, as well as two other ships docked alongside it.The vessel allegedly responsible had been detained by Maritime New Zealand and would only be able to leave the area subject to meeting a number of strict conditions the maritime body has imposed.The ship’s crew and agents had been co-operating with authorities.“At this stage it is too early to say what – if any – enforcement action might be taken in the wake of the incident, however, irrespective, we will be attempting to recover the full cost of the oil spill response itself.” Lyle added that the situation will be monitored overnight and checks will be made early tomorrow for any residual oil or issues.Officials had no confirmed reports of oiled wildlife, although bird recovery experts had been among those deployed as part of the response as a precaution. Local iwi had also been informed.
Børge Brende, who was the Former Managing Director of the World Economic Forum and also the Former Minister of Trade and Industry in Norway will meet the Sri Lankan business community and any other interested parties during the ‘Discussion’ which is to be held at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs is responsible for Norwegian foreign policy, the promotion of Norway’s interests internationally and the work of the Foreign Service, which includes more than 100 Embassies, Permanent Missions/Delegations, and Consulates General. Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende will be in the country during the first week of January, 2016 and will hold high level discussions to find out possible areas of cooperation between Norway and Sri Lanka, including trade and investment opportunities.The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said that during the visit Brende will take part in a discussion organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Norwegian Embassy in Sri Lanka on the 07th January, 2016 at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Auditorium. The visit comes following an interest shown by Norwegians to invest in Sri Lanka, which was expressed at the recently held Sri Lanka – Norway Business Forum in Colombo.Trade between Sri Lanka and Norway during the year 2014 has accounted for a just a paltry US$ 30 million, which has been the figures in the previous years as well. (Colombo Gazette)