UPDATE: Match to trading ships in Fraser Island oil spill

One of the many oil patties washed along the shoreline of Fraser Island on October 19.
One of the many oil patties washed along the shoreline of Fraser Island on October 19. Contributed

ANALYSIS of the oil found during the Fraser Island oil spill has been confirmed as the same type used by large trading ships passing through shipping lanes.

Minister for Ports Mark Bailey confirmed that investigations into the cause of the spill were still ongoing, but said there was a likely source from reverse trajectory modelling of the oil found during the clean-up.

"Reverse trajectory modelling of the oil indicates that the likely origin of the spill as being the principal shipping lanes from Brisbane to Asia and from the western Coral Sea down the Australian east coast," Mr Bailey said.

"These are relatively busy shipping lanes and the volume of ship traffic combined with the weathering of the oil samples will make identifying a culpable ship difficult.

"While we can't guarantee the outcome, we will continue to demonstrate to the international shipping community we value our coastal environment, especially the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

"We have the technology and the will to aggressively pursue anyone who endangers it."

A multi-agency clean-up operation, which included officers from Maritime Safety Queensland, Roadtek, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and Queensland Police Service, was undertaken when oil patties were found along roughly 50km of Fraser Island shoreline on October 19.

The oil spots ranged in size from about that of a coin to as big as a $5 note, and required significant resources for clean-up.

No wildlife was reported harmed during the incident.

"This concluded with a final inspection of the site two weeks ago with traditional owners included in the sign-off," Mr Bailey said.

Fraser Coast Regional Councillor Rolf Light said he hoped "the full weight of the law" was brought upon the culprit.

"What they've done is absolutely despicable; the impact it can have on the environment is extremely costly - not just economically but also in terms of the environmental costs to wildlife," he said.

Maximum fines for a corporation for a discharge offence can include $11.78 million under Queensland law and $17 million under Commonwealth law.

Topics:  fraser island oil spill

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