The Shen Neng 1 ran aground on Douglas Shoal on April 3, 2010, causing an oil spill.
The Shen Neng 1 ran aground on Douglas Shoal on April 3, 2010, causing an oil spill. CONTRIBUTED

Reef campaigners ask where Corexit was used

ENVIRONMENTAL activists have called for more government transparency, as concerns intensify over the use of toxic dispersant Corexit on oil spills in the Great Barrier Reef.

But the federal authority responsible for the chemical has hit back, saying existing stocks of Corexit are being "incinerated".

Australian Marine Conservation Society Great Barrier Reef campaign director Felicity Wishart called on state and federal governments to clarify the number of spills and locations where Corexit had been used.

"Many serious questions remain: how many litres of toxic Corexit have been used in Queensland waters?" Ms Wishart asked.

"Where was it released? What has been the impact and, more importantly, are people and marine life still at risk?"

The concern follows the 2010 Shen Neng 1 oil spill, when the 230m coal carrier ran aground on Douglas Shoal.

Spill dispersants Corexit 9527 and Slickgone were used during the Shen Neng incident, on about 4 tonnes of spilt fuel oil.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has since begun a mass disposal of Corexit 9527 and 9500A, beginning in 2011, after the chemicals failed to meet Australian standards.

The remainder of 9500A stocks will be disposed of before 2014.

AMSA spokeswoman Jo Meehan said Corexit would not be used for future spills.

"AMSA will use Slickgone NS in the event of an oil spill in Gladstone, which has passed AMSA's testing regime," she said.

Corexit wash-up:

  • Corexit 9527 and 9500A haven't met Australian Standards since 2011
  • Corexit 9527 met Australian Standards at time of Shen Neng 1 spill
  • AMSA has disposed of all Corexit 9527 stocks
  • 3000 litres of Corexit 9500A currently stored in Gladstone's National Plan stockpile
  • AMSA say all 9500A stocks will be disposed of by end of 2013
  • National Plan-accepted Slickgone NS will be used for future spills in Gladstone


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