Port Erin resident Dawn Curry has raised concerns about oil spills in the Port Erin Bay.

It comes after a recent incident in the bay, which Dawn reported to Marine Operations.

She has become increasingly concerned about attitudes towards pollution, citing the recent polystyrene beads polluting the bay, which the government admitted had come from the demolition of the marine biological centre.

She said: ‘I belong to a group of paddle-boarders and surfers who are becoming increasingly concerned about pollution in the bay.’

I think that pollution and any sort of environmental disturbance,however small, has a cumulative effect and at the moment, Port Erin Bay is suffering a number of different issues and I feel that somebody from organisations should be doing more to protect it.

‘Prior to the recent incident, there have been lots of minor spills in Port Erin Bay from vessels, that’s not an unusual occurrence at all.

‘I think it is important to shed light on how there can be so many pollution incidents in Port Erin Bay, a UNESCO Biosphere Zone, and why do the polluters seem to get away with this.

‘The recent incident would have undoubtedly gone unreported and shrugged off as a minor fuel spill from a boat if I had not reported it.

‘However, it is not the first of such incidents and in recent times they seem to be increasing; as a regular user of the bay, kayaking and paddling, I have seen quite a few of these smaller incidents.’

Yet Dr Michelle Haywood, Rushen MHK and director of Irish Sea Diving and Marine Services, says that in the last decade oil spills have had little impact in the island.

She said: ‘Occasional spills from boats, especially decrepit ones in Peel harbour, are dealt with by the Department of Infrastructure with booms.

‘There was a large major spill which was red diesel in Peel harbour earlier this year.

‘The Department of Infrastructure soaked it up and took the booms to the Energy from Waste plant to dispose of.

She added: ‘Most fuel floats.

‘We tend to have spills of low density fuels (petrol and diesel) which float and then evaporate over time.

‘Occasional tar blobs wash up on beaches but the origin isn’t traceable.

‘Oil spills are an offence under Marine Pollution legislation (international), but the usual approach is to help with the clear up rather than link reports to fines.

‘This is to encourage the reporting of spills rather than create the situation when a spill occurs that the person responsible tries to cover it up.’

Yet Dr Haywood said that there have been no formal studies into the overall impact of oil spills around the island.

She added: ‘ But nothing has been reported from those who are in a position to notice, like Department of the Environment Food and Agriculture Fisheries, Manx Wildlife Trust, Seasearch and so on.’

Her advice to those who spot an oil spill is to ring Marine Operations on 0686612, which can be reached 24 hours of the day.

You can find out more about the legislation around water pollution, sewage waste water and how to report on the government’s website.