A spill at the Hibernia oil platform was reported on the evening of Saturday, August 17, just two short days after the platform resumed production following the spill on July 17.
The spill Saturday was first reported to be 150L, but aerial surveillance Sunday indicated the spill was closer to 2200L. According to company representatives, the Hibernia platform experienced a temporary loss of power which caused a chain reaction due to the compressed air system not working. This activated the deluge system, designed to extinguish a fire, which released water that had collected in the platform’s drains. The drains overflowed releasing water and oil into the ocean.
Power to the platform has been restored but production is now shut down. Vessels are on the water responding to the spill with wildlife observers onboard and water samples being collected. Aerial surveillance will continue. The slick (1 nm x 4 nm) is located south of the Hibernia platform.
Hibernia Management & Development Company Ltd. has confirmed with us that the overflow of the drain system on Saturday has no connection to the storage cell release back in July. A thorough investigation by the company and the C-NLOPB has already begun.
An oil spill off of our coast, whatever the magnitude and source, threatens the livelihood of those who depend on the fisheries. Even a small spill can have far reaching consequences on global seafood markets, and the potential for socio-economic ramifications on the fishing industry cannot be ignored by industry and government.
For years, FFAW-Unifor and our fish harvesting members have spoken out against the risks related to oil, gas and seismic activities over traditional fishing grounds, which have a significant impact on the commercial fishery. Any plans for oil and gas expansion off our coast must incorporate the concerns of fish harvesters, who share the ocean with the oil and gas industry and bear the significant risks that come with these industrial activities.
Mitigating the impact of oil and gas exploration, development and production on other ocean users must be taken seriously by the companies operating in Newfoundland and Labrador waters.