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Miles of coastline in Australia have been declared a disaster zone after a large oil spill from a storm-damaged cargo ship.

At least 40 miles (60km) of the southeastern shore of Queensland were contaminated as an estimated 42 tonnes of oil spilt into the ocean from the MV Pacific Adventurer on Wednesday night. The ship, which had sailed into cyclonic weather, lost 31 containers, one of which pierced the hull and a fuel tank.

“It may well be the worst environmental disaster Queensland has ever seen,” said Anna Bligh, the state premier. She has declared Moreton Island, Bribie Island and southern parts of the Sunshine Coast disaster zones. The northern tip of Moreton Island, where the worst of the spill damage occurred, was declared a marine national park only two weeks ago. The island is noted for its populations of dugong, green turtles and bottlenose dolphins. (Read More)

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