Oyster boat diesel contained

22:40, Aug 25 2012

Diesel seeping from a semi-submerged oyster boat in Foveaux Strait has been contained.

This afternoon, divers plugged air vents in the fuel tanks of the Torea which has been seeping diesel since the boat - with 23 people on board - hit rocks on Friday.

Environment Southland's Dallas Bradley said a thin slick of diesel, about 10 metres wide, had seeped from the Torea's air vents, but it was being ''carried offshore by the wind and was dispersing naturally in choppy seas''.

The Torea was sitting on the seabed, with most of the deck underwater, and was holding about 2500 litres of diesel.

Environment Southland had been liaising with the Department of Conservation and Iwi about the potential impact on the environment and wildlife, he said.

However, there were no concerns the ''small'' amount of diesel which had seeped from the Torea had caused problems, Bradley said.

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''Now that the air vents have been plugged, the focus will shift to salvaging the vessel.''

Responsibility for salvaging the vessel was with the Torea's owner and insurer, he said.

Environment Southland would continue to monitor the situation.

''Our ongoing interest is to ensure that there is no spillage of diesel from the vessel during the salvage.''

The boat's owner, Campbell Town Seafood, declined to comment.

The Southland Times