Oil spill clean-up makes slow progress

MORE than half of the oil spill along Queensland's south-east coastline has been cleaned up, according to the QLD State Government, but there's a long way to go.

Yesterday, hundreds of people and machines helped mop up the oil on Moreton Island, Bribie Island and parts of the Sunshine Coast.

The slick has been removed from about 95 per cent of Bribie Island, 85 per cent of affected Sunshine Coast beaches and 25 per cent of Moreton Island beaches since the clean-up started on Thursday.

“The battle is far from over but the tide has very much turned in our direction,” Deputy Premier Paul Lucas said.

“Moreton Island is a far more difficult task logistically than Bribie and the Sunshine Coast because on the Sunshine Coast you have beaches next to major infrastructure.”

He said he expected all beaches except those on Moreton Island to be clear of oil in the next couple of days.

While a precise figure is yet to be established, Mr Lucas said it was estimated 250 tonnes of oil leaked from the ruptured tanks of the Pacific Adventurer on Wednesday, during Cyclone Hamish.

That's around 250,000 litres.

The cargo ship also lost 31 containers - or 620 tonnes - of ammonium nitrate overboard.

Mr Lucas confirmed it was now known there were two holes in the ship's hull.

Premier Anna Bligh has defended the time it took to start the clean-up.

“I can understand people think it's a good idea to get out there from day one and start cleaning up,” Ms Bligh told ABC TV yesterday.

“But the reality is we still have oil coming onto the beach.

“You don't take it off the beach until you know it's all there otherwise we are stripping layer of sand that has already be eroded by cyclonic activities.”

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