British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue

News

2005-04-19 18:05:10

BDMLR Medics help out at Diesel Spill - Eastbourne, Sussex

BDMLR medics in Sussex were involved in helping to catch 9 swans after an diesel spill at Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne last week. The spill was reported on Tuesday and BDMLR Medics Steven Marsh, Alec Anscombe, Maz Smith and Dave Clark helped myself and other rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS).

Rescuers spent three days working with the harbour authority catching swans covered in oil. Luckily most of the oil was confined to the very southern end away from the main harbour and only three swans were originally affected. Unfortunately overnight a substantial amount of oil (in wildlife terms) spread into the main harbour area affecting even more.

The harbour authority were apparently told by DEFRA that they could not use detergents to disperse the oil and that they had to let it evaporate! This did not help the swans.

Luckily due to the hot weather most of the oil evaporated by Friday. Two of the 9 swans were badly affect and after washing needed to go to the National Swan Sanctuary in Surrey for more intensive treatment and to regain their waterproofing.

On instruction from the Swan Sanctuary, rescuers also placed a charcoal and lectade solution in a special feeding tub for the remaining swans on a pontoon called "Swan Island" in the harbour.

Luckily the other swans were washed with warm water to remove the surface oil and then eventually released on a nearby lake away from the pollution.

Trevor Weeks
BDMLR (Sussex) and East Sussex WRAS