In the Pacific there are over 3000 shipwrecks. How much oil is in their bunkers is poorly understood. Around 310 of these are oil tankers. Corrosion will ensure that whatever oil is there is eventually released.
At the moment there is a body of research almost unanimously saying a substantial threat to the Pacific’s maritime heritage and reef ecosystems exists.
The potential damage to the western Pacific’s biodiversity could alone see the extinction of commercial fish species and financial crises for Pacific Island nation economies. The trouble is nobody knows the extent of the threat, let alone what to do about it.
We care because we believe, based on some extensive research, supplemented by reports from divers, seafarers and island communities, there is a very real threat. In the eyes of the international community, it is out of sight and out of mind.
Global players who should have a stake in the risk mitigation seem desperately disinterested.
We intend conducting our own research or supporting others more qualified than us to determine how much fuel oil and other hydrocarbons are in the wrecks, particularly at highly desirable dive sites and areas of high marine conservation value. Then we will look at the potential impact of an oil spill and how to successfully (that is, without leaks) remove the oil or otherwise mitigate its impact. We understand there are emerging technologies in this field we don’t know about yet.
We will look for innovative techniques for slowing corrosion, stabilising wrecks and extracting the oil.
Celebrating and supporting culture and identity as it relates to the ocean and the community’s relationship with it will play a big part.
We will do nothing without the full support and involvement of the relevant communities, their governments and international support.