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'No environmental contamination from fishing boat fire in Milford'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Environment Southland harbourmaster Lyndon Cleaver said there is currently no evidence of diesel, oil or other contaminants leaking into the water from this morning’s fire on a fishing boat in Milford Sound, but that an environmental risk remains until the boat can be made watertight.

The fire has since been put out on the boat, which is berthed in Deep Water Basin in Milford Sound. Poor weather conditions meant help couldn’t initially be flown in and the road was closed due to an avalanche risk.

Southland Harbourmaster Lyndon Cleaver: "We were lucky it was a steel hulled boat, otherwise it could have burnt to the water line and released diesel and other contaminants into the water.

"Milford Sound Tourism has oil spill equipment and was on standby during the fire. Fortunately, they weren’t needed.

"There is still a possibility of contamination if the boat sinks and we are keen to get it watertight as soon as possible, but it won’t be an easy fix."

Harbourmaster Cleaver said he continues to be in close contact with people on the ground in Milford and that all relevant agencies had been notified including Maritime New Zealand, Fiordland Marine Guardians and DOC.

"The people in Milford did an excellent job putting out the fire and looking after the situation with no external help," said Harbourmaster Cleaver.

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