Oil spills kill 20,000 birds

WWF: Hardly any chance of survival for contaminated seabirds

Oil-contaminated birds NOAA
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Up to 20, 000 seabirds have fallen victim to the heavy oil that has escaped during the last few weeks following the accidents of the freighters "Server" and "Napoli". The WWF has pointed that out.

The environmental organization therefore renewed its call on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union to look closely at whether container ships and oil tankers should not stay in harbors in stormy seas. This would reduce the risk of environmental disasters. Both the "MSC Napoli" and the "servers" were in distress during a storm.

More than 500 tons of heavy oil emanated

According to WWF estimates, the oil spill off the Norwegian coast, which has been ongoing for three weeks, has already cost the lives of up to 10, 000 birds, including puffins, monkeys, eider ducks, cormorants, seagulls and herons. On January 12, the freighter "Server" off the Norwegian coast had broken apart and had lost 370 tons of toxic heavy oil. 170 kilometers of coast are affected.

So far, with the help of the WWF, about 250 tons of oily material could be collected. The cleaning will continue for several weeks. While the front part of the freighter could already be towed to an emergency port, the rear part is still in the North Sea. There may be more than 50 tonnes of heavy oil on board.

After the accident of the freighter "Napoli" on the English coast last week, the Royal British bird protection company expects up to 10, 000 affected seabirds. The freighter had lost about 200 tons of heavy oil. display

"The recent ship accidents in Europe have fallen victim to up to 20, 000 seabirds, " summed up WWF bird protection expert Hans-Ulrich Rösner. Oily birds have little chance of survival, according to the environmental organization. In Norway, only about 40 animals have been recovered so far and in England about 800 animals. English experts expect that only about one third of the birds can be released after intensive cleaning.

Only one percent survived

However, only about one percent of the released birds survive the first year. This would have been shown by studies, according to the WWF. "Efforts to rescue ostracized birds are usually in vain, with released animals often dying within a few weeks or months, and suffering from sequelae such as internal organ poisoning or behavioral changes that affect their fitness and often harm their offspring" WWF expert Rösner. "The consequences of an oil spill for seabirds are hardly recovering."

(WWF, 01.02.2007 - DLO)