Bahamas island struck by diesel spill during busy tourist season

·Environment Editor
·2-min read

A beach on a once pristine Bahamas tourist island has been swamped by over 159,000 litres of fuel.

The spill occurred as a Sun Oil contracted vessel entered a cove on Great Exuma to deliver the diesel.

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia on Wednesday night (local time), photographer Reno Curling said he was horrified by the incident and the smell from the spill remains “very strong”.

A diesel spill has swamped a cove off Great Exuma. Source: Reno Curling
A diesel spill has swamped a cove off Great Exuma. Source: Reno Curling

“It’s definitely an eye-opener, as it’s not a common occurrence,” Mr Curling said of the spill.

His drone vision, taken at 11am on Wednesday, shows deep brown diesel contrasted against the island’s clear blue waters.

His images of the incident have been widely circulated, causing concern across the globe.

Diesel spill raises concern during busy summer season

The island, which Mr Curling has called home for 20 years, is popular for holidays, weddings, and has beaches where tourists can swim with pigs.

Mr Curling said he hoped the incident would not affect what has been “a busy summer so far”.

“I’m a photographer who specialises in shooting stuff outdoors, and (the spill) is definitely concerning to me,” he said.

Hopes spill will be contained within 24 hours

The spill occurred during what has been a busy summer tourist season. Source: Reno Curling
The spill occurred during what has been a busy summer tourist season. Source: Reno Curling

Despite his concerns about the spill, Mr Curling said he was relieved mitigation efforts had begun, and that the spill was contained to a largely industrial area.

“The immediate area is where we usually transfer from the barges to our local electric plant,” he said.

“Nobody spends time in that immediate area. People don’t traverse back and forth.”

Deputy Prime Minister Cooper said he is “happy” that the diesel “appears to be contained”, Our News Bahamas reported.

Utilities Minister Alfred Sears added that he hoped the spill would be contained within 24 hours.

The island is famous for beaches where tourists can swim with pigs. Source: Reno Curling
The island is famous for beaches where tourists can swim with pigs. Source: Reno Curling

Sun Oil's general manager Clinton Rolle said a crisis management team had been assembled, local media reported.

"We will provide the necessary resources and assistance to address and resolve this situation," he said.

Energy giant Shell, which Sun Oil is a local marketer and distributor for, said the event has no connection to them.

Sun Oil did not immediately respond after being contacted for comment by Yahoo News Australia.

With Reuters

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