Heavy fog and severe weather during fall migration may have played a role in the deaths of more than 120 birds in Alberta, Canada in early November 2014. The birds landed at three oilsand facilities' tailings ponds. Syncrude, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) and Suncor each reported oiled birds at their facilities.
In late November 2014 an oil slick was reported off the coast of Thailand, suspected to be coming from offshore platforms in the Gulf of Thailand. A member of a local marine and coastal resource conservation club said that another spill inn February had killed 10 dolphins and a number of other marine animals. He also reported seeing dolphins swimming in the area of that earlier slick.
Deepwater Horizon Deepwater Horizon Deepwater Horizon avian mortality study: Is it possible to estimate total losses?
A study modeling the possible track of birds who died at sea after the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout suggests that the death toll may run as high as 800,000. BP America disputes the results, saying the numbers suggested did not correspond to what the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) findings show.
Integrating plans for managing oiled wildlife as part of an overall spill response requires an understanding of the complexities that a wildlife response can entail. Oil Spill Response (OSRL) is offering its Oiled Wildlife Response Planning course, designed for emergency planners, oil industry spill response teams, and others with a role in managing environmental resources during spill response, in two locations in 2015.
In mid-October 2014, the coast of Oregon in the US Pacific Northwest, experienced an increase in seabird strandings from a diatom bloom. The diatoms were not toxic to the birds, rather they matted feathers, making preening difficult and allowing water to reach the birds’ skin, much the same way that oil damages avian waterproofing.
Responders from Brazil and Argentina were called in to assist with an oiled wildlife incident in Chile after a small spill at an oil terminal. On 24 September 2014, the MT Mimosa lost 22,000 litres of oil at a Quintero Bay, Chile terminal. In the wake of the spill 36 live and 13 dead birds, including pelicans, grebes and cormorants, were collected.
Oiled wildlife response specialists will gather in Anchorage, Alaska the week of 18-22 May for the 12th conference on the Effects of Oil on Wildlife. Visit the conference website (link below) to receive updates on this important event.
A Polar Code is being developed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to regulate maritime transport in the extreme conditions of the Arctic and Antarctic. The draft code will be reviewed at the next Maritime Safety Committee meeting, to be held in November 2014. The IMO is consulting with the Arctic Council in developing this document, as shipping and oil and gas exploration increase in that region.
Much has been made of the role that marine microorganisms can, and sometimes do, play in the breakdown of oil after a spill. Scientists around the world are looking at ways to improve the efficiency of this process. One such initiative is the EU funded Spill-Kill.
Coordinated Extended Pollution Control Operations (CEPCOs) are just one aspect of HELCOM’s pollution monitoring in the Baltic Sea, but these operations act as a deterrent to the illegal discharge of oil and other pollutants from ships. The most recent CEPCO, carried out by aircraft from Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Sweden, found no spills over a 27-hour period.