Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Oil probably not the only lubricant used

How can you drive a boat at 17 knots into a bloody massive well charted reef in fine daylight weather? With all the electronic gadgetry plus the legal requirement to carry paper charts to avoid crashes caused by the failure of electronic navigation aids, it seems impossible.

However I hear the job is much easier if you are pissed or not looking out the windscreen.

Puzzling as the original grounding, (or considering the boat’s reported speed, ramming); what is even more puzzling is why authorities took so long to do anything meaningful about it. The grounding occurred on Wednesday morning yet there was no attempt to get fuel off the vessel until Friday. So where the bloody hell were they? A guy called John Riding who is an expert in these sorts of operations was saying the first priority should have been to begin pumping oil off the vessel before they bothered about anything else. As he pointed out at the time; the weather was good but there is never any guarantee of how long that will be the case.

Furthermore the first reaction from authorities was to start spraying so-called dispersant chemical Correxit 9500 which was used to no good effect in the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But experts in these types of situations say the dispersant chemicals should only ever be used as a last resort because they very often don’t work and the jury is still out over whether they are less harmful to the environment than the original spill. In fact some say that Correxit is four times more toxic than oil. I think that song I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly should be taught in schools and sung in the way a National Anthem used to once be. We need to get it through people’s thick heads that putting out fires with gasoline does not work and in fact makes them blaze far more energetically.

Meanwhile on Monday, (five days after the crash) as Maritime NZ continued to plonk their lazy arses down on their hands, some concerned locals went down to their beaches and started to clear up some of the gunk being carried in to shore. But did Maritime NZ say, “Hey thanks folks for being such responsible and concerned citizens,”? Did they bollox! Instead the officious wankers told people to cease clearing up the mess and to wait for the official response - presumably this would be the same response they had already been waiting 5 days for.

As usual when something like this happens in this election year a host of heavyweight MPs descended upon Tauranga to stand resolutely alongside Simon the Pixie sporting suitably grim expressions show how concerned they are and how important they think Tauranga is. (So important they don’t have any suitable gear stationed here to deal with such events.) Of course between them they have done nothing more than make a dent in the MPs travel budget and grab a shit-load of photo opps to smear like great gobs of icing on their election cake in an attempt to fool the foolish and the senile, both of which we sadly have in abundance up here.

Meanwhile the same Jiangqi who was ‘so surprised and disappointed for Tauranga that we didn’t have any RWC matches’ and who cares so much about this incident, is prepared to set the navy on the wise ones among the populace who want to prevent Petrobras drilling for oil in the Bay of Plenty. Heckyeah Parata says oil drilling will provide so many jobs and so much money, but what use is money and jobs if your environment is fucked?  Will the extra dollars from oil drilling make up for the ruined fisheries and all the jobs lost from that area and its satellite industries and occupations? I doubt it very much. Somehow the supporters of that venture seem unable to understand that any cock-ups in the oil-drilling operation would make this mess look like a teaspoon of milk in the Atlantic Ocean.

So what should happen now? Well the prick in charge of the boat should walk the plank. I would be very surprised if he is not found to have been drunk, stoned, criminally negligent, or all three. The owners will obviously have to pay for the clean-up and should be fined enough to rock their corporate boat so much they do everything possible to avoid any further cock-ups of this sort.

As for the Petrobras fiasco; Jiangqi, Heckyeah and Billy Bunter Browning all need to move into the 21st century and realise oil-drilling is not the way or the fuel of the future. But as usual it is short term (and somewhat debatable) gains taking precedent over the longer term results which are evident to anyone who cares to look at the bigger picture. But then our blinkered politicians and their bureaucratic bunglers have never been able to see beyond the end of the next election anyway.  

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