One of the largest ships sunk in Australian waters during WWII, the wreck of M/V Limerick lies off the coast of Ballina in New South Wales. Corroding underwater for over 75 years the wreck frequently spills fuel into the surrounding environment with slicks up to 10 km in length recorded.
Working in collaboration with marine scientists at the University of Newcastle, MPF are planning to survey the wreck with small robot submarines (ROVs) to assess its condition, and estimate when its tanks might crack open and release larger amounts of oil.
Through your support, MPF will mobilise a team to travel to the wreck site and gather the data required to begin to proactively manage this polluting wreck.
Recent oil slicks from M/V Limerick, recorded from satellite images. Thanks to CGG SeaScope https://www.cgg.com/geoscience/satellite-mapping/offshore-pollution
MV Limerick leaving port
Normally the ocean current at the Limerick’s position flows southwards. But sometimes it flows north and any spilled oil could obviously end up end on the beautiful beaches of Byron Bay… like on the image on the left, displayed by the excellent Windy.com website on July 11, 2022.
When the East Australian Current is definitely flowing strongly south, an oil slick will come ashore along a longer stretch of coast especially if there is an easterly wind, which is pretty normal. We do not have detailed spill models from experts, but we do have some indicative ones… which indicate serious consequences.
This spill model on the left uses data for the ocean current on 25/9/2022 and assumes
– a 20km/h wind from the southeast for the next week
– a 200 ton spill of heavy fuel oil from the Limerick, leaking over 12 hours.