An oil spill reported in the Pearl River estuary close to the Qingzhou Island and Guishan Island has so far not entered Hong Kong waters. A few vessels were either stranded or sank in the wake of typhoon Hato.The Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre was informed of the spill by the Guangdong Search and Rescue Centre. Mainland maritime authorities have undertaken a cleanup and the HK Marine Department has begun patrols southwest of Lantau Island. Aerial surveillance carried out has so far not shown the spilled oil drifting into Hong Kong waters.
Thousands of dead fish were found floating in the water along the Kwun Tong promenade over the weekend
(11-7-12/7/2015), releasing a strong stench that many passersby found unbearable.
The dead fish covered a two-kilometer stretch along the promenade, and it took the Marine Department seven hours to clean up about 2,000 kilos, Apple Daily reported.
Several species were identified, including tilapia, seabream, grey mullet and spotted silver scat.
Cheung Ma-shan, science manager at the Eco-Education and Resources Center, said the mass death could be due to the low oxygen content in the water caused by typhoon Linfa.
Chong Dee-hwa from the Ichthyological Society of Hong Kong said the typhoon could have stirred up mud and toxins from the bottom of the sea, thus affecting fish populations.
The Department of Environmental Protection was undertaking tests of water samples obtained in the vicinity.
Hong Kong has come to a financial settlement with an unidentified party over the cost of the clean-up of a massive spill of plastic pellets in the city’s waters during one of the most powerful typhoons to hit in recent years.
The Marine Department last night said the sum was “reasonable, realistic and acceptable”, but declined to reveal how much had been paid or who had paid it, citing what it described as “a usual confidentiality clause”.
In July 2012, seven containers fell overboard from cargo ship Yong Xin Jie 1 when Severe Typhoon Vicente hit the city. Six were loaded with 150 tonnes of plastic pellets produced by Sinopec’s petrochemical refinery in Hainan . They washed up on Hong Kong beaches, and environmentalists said at the time they could harm the marine ecology.
Government departments in cluding those responsible for food and environmental hygiene, leisure and cultural services, agriculture, fisheries and conservation and environmental protection, and the Marine Department, were involved in the clean-up.
“After active negotiations amongst the parties concerned, a settlement agreement was reached for a sum to be paid by the party concerned to the government to compensate [for] the costs it incurred in cleaning up the plastic pellets,” a Marine Department spokesman said.
He said that the government hoped to resolve the matter “in an amicable manner”, instead of going to court, to save costs and resources. Further details of the agreement could not be disclosed, he said, citing the confidentiality clause.
People braved the strong winds as Typhoon Vincente approached the city last year. Photo: David Wong
The spokesman said the agreement was signed by a department representative yesterday.
After the spill, Sinopec said it would take responsibility and set aside HK$10 million to help pay for the clean-up of the pellets.
It said it had bought 40 vacuum machines, 20 generators and 40 walkie-talkies for the purpose.
The then Marine Department chief, Francis Liu Hon-por, said the government would hold the owner of the Xiamen-registered vessel responsible.
Two months later, shipping company China Shipping Container Lines, which leased the vessel, said it had sent 500 staff, vehicles and speedboats to help with the clean-up, and arranged for divers to collect pellets.
Gary Stokes, from Sea Shepherd Hong Kong, which was the first to spot the pellets in local waters, said the agreement was fine if the payment covered the costs.
However, he said the government should release more information about it. “The clean-up could not have been done without the Hong Kong public,” he said.
Source: SCMP 9/4/2014
With the rainy season now in full swing, it’s time to talk colors. Water color that is, and I don’t mean painting, I mean the color of the sea in HK.
It’s actually not the same everywhere, because if you live in Lantau Island on the western side, you are closer to the Pearl River Estuary which carries a lot of mud and silt down into the sea. That makes HK’s western waters murky and muddier, and because the Pearl River also carries a lot of minerals and nutrients down into the Sea, it makes for much better growing conditions for phytoplankton – microscopic algae that float around in the sea. That tends to turn the water color green or yellow, too.
But the eastern side of HK is a different story. Here the water is more oceanic and blue-green because there is no big source of mud and nutrients. Corals love warm, nutrient-poor and sunlit water, so you find them more on the eastern side of HK – basically as far away as they can get from the big rivers.
So what’s all this got to do with the rainy season? Well, a big tropical downpour washes soil, nutrients as well as all sorts of rubbish off the mountains and into the sea…anywhere, so river or no river, the water goes yellowy-green.
If you are a diver, this gives you two rules of thumb for visibility in HK waters:
– East is best, west is worst
– don’t bother diving after rain: the more rain, the longer you have to wait for decent visibility to return. For your typical typhoon I estimate at least 5 days.