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Oil Pollution On Lowestoft Beach.


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Years ago , maybe in in the 80's, there was an oil tanker run aground off the coast near Gt Yarmouth. I don't recall the exact dates or location but that can be easily Goggled. The ship was the Eleni V and the spill of heavy crude was quite serious and widespread on the shoreline. Any of our local forumites recall this event?

There is a video on the East Anglian Film Archive site. Link http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/205071.  (When attempting to post this link an error occurs - techies help please.) Watch the video right to the end for more footage of the Lowestoft beach clean up scenes

Our local council at the time decided to help in the clean up operation and allowed many tonnes of this heavy crude to be buried under Lowestoft North Beach. It was bulldozed in and buried, the beach was restored, the dunes recolonised and, great , problem solved. Job done.

Except that in the 2000's doubts were expressed about beach erosion occurring after some big storms. So they said, better dig up all that oil that was buried.

Unfortunately, so the story goes, nobody knew exactly where it had been buried as no accurate records had been kept. So it was left in the ground.

Fast forward to 2020, the beach has now eroded and dunes shifted sufficiently to allow large clumps of black mass to start appearing out of where a new beach berm has formed. The current council have had to erect warning signs for beach users.

To compound the problem, when it was buried it seems some type of thick polythene sheeting or tarp was laid across to prevent seepage upwards.  This sheetiing where it is now re-exposed has become brittle and can break off and be blown about as a tarry, sticky sided plastic mess.

This last weekend in the lovely weather the beach has been busy with holiday makers and locals. Children are playing, fishermen are fishing, dogs walking and swimming, nudists are nuding (at the Corton end). All having to avoid the exposures of solidified oil. Nobody seems to know how much was was buried in the first place and so how much more will become exposed.

 

There is no real point to this story other than to say it shows that oil pollution can, at best, be a blasted nuisance and, at worst, an ecological disaster.

 

Another recent tourist attraction to this very same beach was the recent beaching of a Sowerbys Beaked whale which was left as a rotting carcase for a couple of weeks - had to avoid that spot while dog walking. I note it has now been completely removed.

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Very interesting. I had read some of this. The north beach definitely looked as if there had been noticeable erosion along there when we returned to the area this summer. We saw the body of the whale that had been left down there as well. I was surprised that it hadn’t been removed although admittedly I don’t know what that involves. 

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I think it was more like the late 70s, remember going to the beach whilst visiting a relative at Hopton, didn’t see the wreck being blown up but that would have been a sight for shore and a memory which would have stuck like oil to a tarpaulin!

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Late 70's eh. I was younger than I thought.

Regretfully didn't witness the explosion either, but then I might have been away for work when that happened.

Would it have been visible from onshore ? The  video seemed to show it quite a way out

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I think it was more like the late 70s, remember going to the beach whilst visiting a relative at Hopton, didn’t see the wreck being blown up but that would have been a sight for shore and a memory which would have stuck like oil to a tarpaulin!

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Oops, didn’t mean to repost! Having researched a bit it seems the army towed the bit to be blown up some 30 miles offshore so from the beach may have heard the bang but doubt it would have been visible. Thankful we haven’t had an incident like that again since!

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11 hours ago, keifsmate said:

I wonder if anything is coming from this mob parked up off Southwold!

 

image.thumb.png.74b5c16ea20ed0d09cad210085c81d65.png

 

I would imagine they are all light ship and have been scrubbed clean of cargo (inerted).

But you never know ...

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19 hours ago, keifsmate said:

I wonder if anything is coming from this mob parked up off Southwold!

 

image.thumb.png.74b5c16ea20ed0d09cad210085c81d65.png

Just had another thought on these,keifsmate.

What we need is one of the Cruise Ships to beach ashore and given the amount of hooch those tubs carry around we could have our very own "Whiskey Galore"  party right here on the east coast.

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I recall back in early Covid days when the QE hospital was being built at London Excel there was talk of using some of the P&O liners in Poole Bay as Hospital ships. For some reason in high places this idea was rejected.

Anyone remember why the idea was shelved?

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