Oil spill
  • Last updated:
  • 24 Jun 2019
On 11 March 2009 the Pacific Adventurer, en route from Newcastle to Indonesia, ran into trouble off the northern tip of Moreton Island. The 185m container ship lost 31 containers of ammonium nitrate after they came loose in high seas whipped up by Cyclone Hamish. Some of the containers subsequently pierced the ship's hull, releasing more than 200 tonnes of fuel oil into the ocean, which coated beaches and headlands on Moreton Island and the Sunshine Coast.

At the time the oil spill occurred there were sixteen sea turtle nests between Shelly Beach and Buddina from which hatchlings had not yet emerged. Volunteers from Sunshine Coast TurtleCare, officers from the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, and Queensland's Environment Protection Agency worked together to protect the remaining nests by containing hatchlings to prevent them running across oil contaminated beaches. 

Approximately 300 hatchlings from 3 nests emerged in the few days immediately following the spill and they were safely released at the unaffected Teewah Beach where they were able to undertake a relatively normal run to the ocean. Hatchlings from a further three nests in the following days were released at Shelly Beach and Dicky Beach, which were then free of any oil contamination.