Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oil Spill at Tristan da Cunha

A freighter, the Malta-based MV Oliva, ran aground near Tristan da Cunha, a group of islands in the South Atlantic. The ship released 800 tons of oil, and there is now an oil slick around Nightingale Island. The slick has the potential to be difficult to clean up since the islands are remote and cleanup vessels will have to travel a long way to reach Tristan da Cunha.

Nightengale Island is notable for its large population of Northern Rockhopper Penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi), an endangered species that has more than half of its population living within the archipelago. Conservation workers on the islands say that about 20,000 penguins have been oiled so far, with the potential for more to be oiled by the time rescue workers arrive.

There are photos of the penguins at and updates at the Tristan da Cunha website.