Bay of Plenty Regional Council oil spill response staff have been working to contain an oil spill at Sulphur Point in Tauranga.

An estimated 2000 litres of oily sludge is believed to have been discharged from a tanker truck about 5pm Monday as it was removing the sludge from a vessel. Some of this sludge entered the water.

Council staff used booms and other spill equipment to contain the spill as much as possible.

For safety reasons, they had to halt clean-up activities for the night shortly but will recommence at first light.


Regional on-scene commander Adrian Heays said while it appeared most of the oil has been contained underneath the wharf, staff won't know until first light whether any has managed to get past the booms and further into the harbour.

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Staff had been at the scene earlier in the day when a smaller spill had occurred involving the same vessel and tanker truck. It's believed around 60 litres was spilled as part of this earlier event, with around 10 - 20 litres having entered the water.

The cause of the incidents is not thought to be related. A full investigation has begun for both incidents.

The weather overnight is not expected to cause any further issues with the spill.

An update is expected before 10am tomorrow once staff have been able to assess the situation and plan their action for the day.

Staff have full PPE gear to use and are working with appropriate distancing due to Covid-19.

While the public should not be out and about due to the Covid-19 alert level 4, they are especially being asked to stay away from the area to avoid inadvertently causing any extra complications.