Tristan da Cunha oil Spill

In March 2011 a Greek vessel loaded with Soya beans ran ashore on the remotest island in the world, Tristan da Cunha. The ship broke in half and the cargo sank to the bottom and started to rot. This extracted the oxygene from the water killing all the marine life in the area included the main income of the 600 inhabitants Atlantic Lobster. The crew was rescued by the locals and brought in to safety at the main island.

Beside the beans the ship also started to leak it's fuel and oil. This covered the coast of Nightingale Island (one of the island of the Tristan da Cunha island group) included the wildlife. Luckily it was the end of the breeding season so many birds had left the islands already. Only some where still moulting and got covered in oil as they entered the water. The locals tried to safe as much Northern Rockhoppers as they could. It was a different story for the Subantarctic Seals who are to agile to be caught and many of them died due to pneumonia or drowning.

The penguins where first collected into a pen. There they where divided into different categories depending how much they where covered in oil. After that they first got medicines for their intestines. Many birds swallow the oil when they are preening themselves and the chemicals burns their stomachs. After that they are being washed and get fish with more medicines to boost them up.

These birds went to the town's swimming pool and as soon as they where good to go they where released. The good thing is that the insurance company of payed all the costs for the community and rescue operations. Still it's effect on the ecosystem which will takes years to recover. It's impossible to imagine that on this large ocean a ship can hit such a small island when it crosses from Brazil to South Africa.

More images from our Atlantic Odyssey can be found here.