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ESG urges more resources to clean up ‘shocking, unprecedented’ oil pollution in Seven Sisters marine site

The Environmental Safety Group expressed shock on Monday at the pollution that had washed up on Seven Sisters after residual oil leaked from the wreck of the OS 35 last week.

The group’s volunteers participated in a clean-up over the weekend alongside The Nautilus Project coordinated by the Department of the Environment.

It said the southern area of Seven Sisters, a protected conservation site rich in marine life, had been “plastered in thick tarry oil”.

“While warnings had been issued regarding the potential for such pollution from the OS 35 to still occur, it was nevertheless shocking to witness Seven Sisters heavily tarred in this way,” the group said in a statement.

“Garbed up, the enormity of the task was soon evident, as the thick, black oil on the rocky southern shore was very time consuming to remove and labour intensive.”

“Mopping up with pads was the method advised, the clean-up started.”

“It was very sad to see the impacts on the species that live in this intertidal zone with volunteers coming across many affected by the oil.”

The ESG said it understands that a survey is underway by the Department of the Environment.

A spokesman for the group added that the ESG had coordinated annual clean-ups in the area of Seven Sisters since 2008, removing fly-tipping of plastics and other waste that arrives by sea.

“It's a difficult area to access and the campaign has made the project possible with support and goodwill from various agencies and individuals,” the spokesman said.

“We are proud of the impact we have made to help keep this special area free from harmful waste.”

“We were informed that our clean-up last week enabled the current situation to focus on the oil without having first to remove what could have been sack loads of oil contaminated plastics and other waste.”

“However, this oil spill is shocking, unprecedented in our experience, and way beyond our abilities.”

“It’s critical that all resources are provided to the frontline teams to remove the damaging oil from this special area, rich in marine life as fast as possible.”

“A final toll of true impacts to the environment should be published.”

“We just hope that no more leaks of this type will recur.”

“It is imperative that the final stages in salvaging the vessel is within sight and that we see an end to the continuous pollution.”

Contractors are now based at Seven Sisters hoping to make a difference and the Department of the Environment is monitoring the clean-up process.

The ESG and other NGOs will continue to help as much as possible regarding volunteers and providing other support.

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