Hands across the Sand 2019 on KI | PHOTOS

Residents concerned about a disastrous oil spill on Kangaroo Island shoreline attended the 2019 Hands across the Sand event at Emu Bay on Sunday, May 5.

Almost 90 people gathered on the beach at Emu Bay standing in a line linking hands, before spelling out SOS for Save Our Seas.

Down on the Island's southern shores at Vivonne Bay, about 20 members of the Island Board Riders also formed a line in the sand.

Action video

Norwegian oil company Equinor has now submitted its plan for a test well 500 km west of Kangaroo Island.

Hands across the Sand organiser Linda Irwin-Oak thanked everyone for attending and all those who had participated in actions against oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight, since the first protest action at the Kingscote jetty back in December 2013.

She symbolically placed into the ocean, and then retrieved, a message in bottle stating "SOS KI".

She pointed to the speech made by SA Senator Rex Patrick on May 3 in Whyalla to the board of Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula.

He made reference to the fact that Equinor had outlined scenarios of a potential disaster if the blow-out preventer failed, with response vessels taking 15 days to arrive from Singapore and up to 120 days of leaking oil before a relief well could be drilled.

Mr Patrick said he believed that the regulatory process of assessing proposals such as Equinor's Stromlo-1 well was fundamentally flawed.

"It concerns me that there are so many questions about this process that have not been answered and yet Equinor only has to satisfy a government regulator to start drilling," he said

"It concerns me that the potential economic benefits have been deliberately oversold by the oil and gas industry to court public opinion and that ultimately they will be the one who really profit from this and other ventures."

State Member for Mawson, Leon Bignell meanwhile was this week taking a break from his European vacation to fly to Oslo, Norway to campaign against Equinor's proposed drilling.

"On Monday I will travel to Oslo to meet with the State secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy to pass on hundreds of messages from local people who want the Norwegians to dump their plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight," Mr Bignell posted online.

"I'd like to thank the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg for organising the meeting. Energy company Equinor is majority owned by the Norwegian Government and I hope they listen to the pleas of people ranging in age from primary school children to people in their 80's and 90's.

"It makes no sense at all to put our pristine environment and thousands of fishing and tourism jobs at risk for something that will have no benefit for our local area.

"Could you imagine the coastline of Kangaroo Island and from Aldinga, Ceduna and Port Lincoln to Carpenter Rocks, Robe and Beachport covered in oil and dead fish, birds and sea creatures."

Sandcastle competition

Back on the beach at Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island's deputy mayor Bob Teasdale judged the sandcastle competition at the KI Hands across the Sand event.

Mr Teasdale said he was pleased to see so many young people out trying to safeguard their future environment.

"Concern for our environment and mitigating climate change is really important for us all," he said. "It is even more important for our kids who are going to have to manage living with climate change, which will mean rising sea level, catastrophic bushfires and a drier climate."

Sisters Mya and Aaliyah won the sandcastle competition with their dolphin, while boys Harley, Ben, Koa and Macmillan won second place with their turtle.

The first, second and third place winners won a voucher to Raptor Domain, while the runner-ups all received lollipops.

Kylie and Robert Walters from KI Beach Barista gave away free coffees to Hands across the Sand participants.

On the Friday before Hands across the Sand, youngsters Elke, Jem, Mia, Tim and Bellen joined the worldwide student strike calling for climate change action.

After school, they held signs up, accompanied by parents Lily, Silke and Heidi, outside the Aurora Ozone Hotel in Kingscote.


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