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Oil spill equipment `should be mandatory'

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/05/2016
Oil Spill © Getty Images Oil Spill

Equipment to handle oil spills should be mandatory at all ports, an opposition party says.

Oil giant Mobil was on Monday fined $288,000 for spilling oil into Tauranga Harbour, and NZ First says lessons must be learned from the incident.

"The spill could have been prevented with the right equipment in place, which should be mandatory at all ports if we are serious about protecting our waterways," said conservation spokesman Clayton Mitchell.

"An automatic switch-off value activated by a drop in pressure would have stopped the leak ... a lack of appropriate booms meant the clean-up was far too slow."

Around 1500 litres of oil spilled in April last year when heavy fuel leaked from a rusty Mobil New Zealand-owned pipe while a boat was being refuelled.

The company apologised for the pollution after oil washed onto beaches and into the city's waterways.

While the Bay of Plenty Regional Council invoiced Mobil hundreds of thousands of dollar for the clean-up, it took the company the court on one charge of discharging a contaminant into water.

Judge Smith fined the oil giant $288,000 in court on Monday.

A crew of around 70 council workers took part in the clean-up after oil covered shorelines at Maungatapu and Bridge Marina.

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