The federal government has defended the Queensland government’s handling of the oil spill off the Sunshine Coast, saying oil recovery equipment could be not used during a tropical cyclone.
The cargo ship Pacific Adventurer lost 31 containers filled with ammonium nitrate fertiliser in cyclonic seas last Wednesday.
The impact knocked two holes in the hull, unleashing a 250-tonne oil slick off the Queensland coast.
In response to a question from Liberal senator Ian Macdonald about when the state government contacted federal authorities, Labor’s deputy Senate leader Stephen Conroy said the clean-up effort could not begin until after cyclone Hamish subsided.
"In such conditions it was not feasible to use oil dredging or recovery equipment to prevent the oil from coming on-shore," he said.