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Emaciated Dolphins Suggest Ecological Disaster In Timor Sea Oil Spill

Oil industry public relations professionals are expert at soothing people’s concerns about the risks of oil spills associated with offshore oil drilling. Thanks to new technology, they say, oil spills almost never happen now. Even when oil spills happen, they say, new technology allows the mess to be cleaned up almost right away – like it never happened.

emaciated dolphin timor sea oil spillWhenever you hear someone make a claim like that, I want you to remember this photograph. It’s of a dolphin swimming through the polluted water near the Timor Sea oil spill that has been spewing crude oil into Australian and Indonesian waters for more than two months now – nonstop. It’s an oil spill that rivals the size of the Exxon Valdez spill – the spill that the oil companies promised could never happen again.

The dolphin you see here is one of several starving dolphins that were spotted by the World Wildlife Fund during a recent survey of the Timor Sea. Ordinarily, a cetacean’s sides are smooth and round. To see a whale’s ribs is a sign of severe weight loss.

Of course, it’s not just dolphins that are being affected by the Timor Sea oil spill. Other animals, less cute, are also having to swim through the immense slick. Sea snakes swimming through oily waters were also seen.

sea snake timor oil spill

In spite of the evidence of a massive ecological disaster collected during this survey, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association has actually claimed that the survey found no evidence of harm to the inhabitants of the Timor Sea. Do you think the executives at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association can count the ribs on that dolphin? Even PTTEP Australasia, the offshore drilling company that is responsible for the oil spill in the first place, admits that there is a high rate of death among sea birds exposed to the slick.

It seems that another wildlife survey has been to the area of the oil spill – but it isn’t making its findings available to the public. Why not?

There continues to be a lot of money at stake for oil drilling companies. In spite of its responsibility for the Timor Sea oil spill, and its inability to stop the spill from continuing in spite of three attempts with its most advanced technology, PTTEP Australasia was just awarded the right to drill in several new locations in Australian waters. The company now has Australian government permission to conduct just the same sort of operations that led to the Timor Sea spill in the first place.

Oil spills are far from rare occurences. During the two months that the Timor Sea oil spill has been going on, four separate oil spills have taken place in the seas around the Southeastern United States.

2 comments to Emaciated Dolphins Suggest Ecological Disaster In Timor Sea Oil Spill

  • Jenny O'Connor

    I am a Marine Mammal Rescuer and I have seen the effects of an Oil Spill, as I have been involved in rescuing Birds & Marine Mammals in the past from oil spills. The Carcinogenic effects on these animals after a spill is horrible and those that do survive, then go on to have young, then you also see the effects from their young with deformed bodies and the young do not live long. The Toxic chemicals can cause poisonous effect to Plankton, Fish & their eggs, Crustaceans & the decrease of the Fauna populations, which has a knock on affect for the whole of the Food Chain. This in turn WILL affect Humans, as Humans eat marine life. These companies who always say there is NO prove, that it affects marine life should come and deal with the after effects we have too, when we have sick birds or marine mammals come in.
    All I will say to the Australian Government is ENJOY your Seafood Dinners and hope this does not effect you the same way as it does the mainre life?? and there’s no affect on your Medical Resources in your country in the future !!!!!

  • Pook

    Being ill and suffering I think is real for dolphins, humans, and birds. to not take that seriously is just like a behavior problem–the kind that leads to not taking the suffering of people seriousl also.
    Many people are gaining a sense of Noah..and I know there is an organziation called that. But also there is the world Wildlife Fund, Defenders of Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club, American Rivers. And I would like to know which ones down in the Gulf at this time are functioning. i would like to know who is worth the contributions…who really helped. Audobon also is wonderful. Because we have more spills, so we have a toxic gulf. Your happiness as envirnomental workers, mine anyway, seems to need to understand ther other point of view and liste, listen listen and then share your respect for their fiew and your view and ways to find common ground so both sides get what they want. God Bless anyhown for trying.

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