[Coral-List] tanker grounds on GBR

Greg Challenger gchallenger at msn.com
Mon Apr 5 14:50:00 EDT 2010


The vessel was a cargo carrier (coal carrier).  A tanker carries liquid product.   The bunkers (heavy fuel for running the ships' engines) total about 300K gallons, which is pretty average for a cargo carrier fuel tank and far below the up to several hundred thousand tonnes (over 20 millions gallons) of fuel carried by large fuel tankers.  Given the low dissolution of heavy fuels and the specific gravity of less than water, the scope of oil and coral contact would likely be limited under any scenario without substantial dispersion (storm waves) and/or particulate adsorption.  However, it is not a trivial amount of fuel.  The corals will likely suffer most from physical damage and sedimentation or burial limited to the footprint of the grounding and wreck removal area as opposed to a widespread problem from chemical exposure.  Factors that could affect oil and coral interactions include water depth and potential exposure at low tide in addition to dispersion or submerged oil.  


The winds are easterly but the nearest shoreline is approx. 70 kms to the west which is a fair distance to go, by which time HFO could be mostly widely scattered and weathered tarballs.  Biota such as seabirds or mammals are most at risk from HFO on the water surface.  


It looks like I may be headed there shortly and will revert with more if possible. 




Greg E. Challenger, M.S.

Principal Marine Scientist

Polaris Applied Sciences, Incorporated 12509 130th Lane NE Kirkland, WA 98034 

425-823-4841 425-823-3805 fx 206-369-5686 cell visit us at: www.polarisappliedsciences.com


> Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2010 10:24:04 -0500
> From: mechers at gmail.com
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: [Coral-List] tanker grounds on GBR
> I'm surprised this hasn't been posted here yet, but it looks like bad news.
> -- 
> "You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do
> something about its width and depth."
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