A SECOND oil spill in two weeks in the Suva Harbour has triggered concern among environmental groups and an Australian specialist has questioned methods of dealing with such issues in Fiji.
Yacht owners Barbara Ballinger and husband Peter Tarbox reported the oil slick to this newspaper after they said the strong fumes from the water forced them from their yacht on Tuesday afternoon.
The spill came from local scrap metal company South Pacific Metals, which was also responsible for last week's spill.
South Pacific Metals manager George Chambers said they had been unaware of an additional fibreglass tank of diesel on a boat they were taking until it began leaking diesel into the water.
He said the company regretted the spill.
He added they were handling the spill by using chemical degreasers, which breaks down oil in water.
However, Adam Walters, Greenpeace Australia's Research and Investigations co-ordinator, said degreasers presented a different problem to the environment.
He said in such situations, containment should be the first option and that oil booms should be in place in any area where the risk of oil spilling into the ocean was present.
"Degreasers are controversial in that they mix the oil into the water, which makes it easier for oil to be taken up by organisms and have an impact on the sea," said Mr Walters, who is based in Sydney.
"While it removes the eyesore of the oil on top of the water, it does not halt its effects on the ecosystem."
WWF South Pacific communications manager Patricia Mallam said such spills had enormous costs on many people's livelihoods and called for improved shipping practices to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Bimlesh Prasad, the events manager at the Royal Suva Yacht Club, said marine pollution was portraying a very negative image of Suva to the tourists.