We had a very sad experience of pollution in Pembrokeshire when the Sea Empress Disaster occurred in the entrance to the Milford Haven Estuary at the end of the Cleddau. We were fortunate this time that the winds blew the oil away from our Islands filled with wildlife.
Paintings by Claire T and Diana H Class 6G
Reports by Class 6G Pennar Junior School
In 1996 a terrible oil disaster happened off the coast of Pembrokeshire, the Sea Empress a gigantic oil tanker ran aground. It began spilling tonnes of crude oil onto Pembrokeshire beaches. Our main tourist beach at Tenby was covered in horrible sticky crude oil. Hotels lost money because nobody wanted to go to oily beaches. Fishermen lost money because people couldn't eat the fish that had been covered in horrid crude oil.
Hundreds of seabirds such as gulls, guillemots and other diving birds were killed, the thick black oil covered their feathers so that they could not fly or float , it also choked them. The oil weighed them down and suffocated them. Fortunately because of the way the coastal current was flowing the crude oil only spilt a little on Barafundle, Fresh Water West, and Fresh Water East beaches.
When the salvage team had their first chance to release the tanker they failed, because they refused help from tugs. Everytime the tide came in, the tanker, which was resting on a sharp pinnacle of submerged rock split its sides even more, with gallons of oil gushing into the sea.
After 9 days of waiting the salvagemen accepted help from other people and managed to free the tanker. The tragedy affected different people in different ways. The manufacturers of the tanker were blamed for not making the tanker stronger.
People who wanted to save the wildlife were tormented by the sight of oil and dead animals all over the beaches. Our school - especially our class - collected newspapers, old sheets, and towels to help clean some of the animals at the rescue centre.
By Charlie F
In February 1996 the Sea Empress ran aground. It had spilt all of it's oil around St. Ann's Head and with the wind and tide it had spread around to Tenby which was one of the most affected areas.
The birds around that area were covered with oil and many birds were killed.
The fish and other sea creatures were killed and the beaches were covered with oil. The RSPB were collecting the birds and cleaning them up. People and schools were helping by collecting rags and newspaper to clean the birds. Our school, Pennar, helped by collecting lots of rags and newspaper.
After the beaches had been cleaned using scrubbing brushes and diggers the cleaned birds were released.
Some beaches have still got oil on after two years.
In February 1996 a disaster happened off the coast of Pembrokeshire- a huge tanker ran aground in Milford Haven. Then the oil floated around the coast to Tenby, and hundreds of birds and sealife were killed. The R.S.P.B. and other organisations came and cleaned up most of the birds but they could not save all of them. Fishermen have only recently received compensation for the damage caused to their businesses and some of the fishermen have stopped fishing altogether There is still a ban on fishing for certain shellfish, crabs and small fish.