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Seabird Deaths

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3:29pm 13th May 2013
(Updated 3:29pm 13th May 2013)

After Pirate FM told you the true scale of the seabird deaths off Cornwall and Devon might never be known, it is claimed the number washed up dead or injured has now reached four thousand.

Around 20 species have been found covered in sticky substance PIB after that chemical spill in the English Channel.

Wildlife charities are calling for a review of how PIB is classified.

An online petition over the seabird deaths has reached almost 6,000 signatures.

Meantime, campaigners are calling on ministers to speed up the response to the seabird strandings.

St Ives MP Andrew George has already raised matters with both the Shipping Minister, Stephen Hammond MP, and the Marine Environment Minister, Richard Benyon MP.

In a recent reply from Mr Hammond, Mr George was told that:

"The recent discharge is being considered by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).  The MCA will analyse data that shows the ships that were in the area in the relevant timeframe.  They will also need to look at the detailed cargo manifests to see which of this ships were carrying PIBs, and if need be talk with the ports at which these ships called.  If the MCA can locate any ship that was responsible for an illegal discharge then they will prosecute the owner or operator.  This will send a clear message to the shipping industry that illegal discharge is not acceptable."

Andrew George also wants ports to sign a voluntary code agreeing not to dump it.

He said: "Although it is of course important that pressure is brought to bear on the IMO, we know that, as an international organisation, it moves at the pace of the slowest.  I have therefore written to the two organisations which are responsible for the management of major ports around the UK to seek the establishment of a voluntary code which I hope will, in the meantime, begin to address the issue.  

"Once established, I would hope that those UK ports could seek the agreement of their western European counterpart port authorities to establish an early moratorium on the discharge of PIBs in this way.  They should be handled as all other pollutants as a hazardous waste rather than polluting the seas in the way that they have been."

3:29pm 13th May 2013

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