The current amount of oil seen on water as of yesterday was less than 6 liters. Hence, the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board, in consultation with Environment Canada, Canadian Coast Guard officials and other agencies involved in the Regional Environmental Emergencies Team (REET), yesterday concurred with Petro-Canada's plans to begin a phased demobilization of on-water oil recovery at the site of the Terra Nova spill, which happened one week ago on November 21.
Last night there were four vessels on site. The plan will see that number reduce by one vessel each day until one vessel remains on site. Like all vessels providing stand-by support offshore, that vessel will have sorbent boom on-board should oil be sighted on the water. This is in addition to the boom and skimmer system always required to be present at site.
Wildlife monitoring efforts being led by Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) on behalf of the C-NOPB will include both aerial surveillance today and a vessel-based survey over the next two days. Results of the aerial survey today will determine if additional flights are necessary. In addition, data and observations will continue to be collected in order to determine the magnitude of this incident on sea birds and their populations.
Based on current scientific knowledge and expert advice, CWS now estimates the number of birds likely impacted by the Terra Nova spill could be as many as 10,000. Some 25 million to 30 million seabirds spend winters off the Atlantic coast particularly concentrated in the area of the Grand Banks where food sources are plentiful. The species most heavily concentrated on the Grand Banks are murres, known locally as turrs, and dovekies, known locally as bull birds. Small amount of oil, as little as a single drop the size of a quarter can kill birds due to hypothermia.
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