Published On: Fri, Dec 7th, 2012

Black substance washes ashore at Boca Samí

WILLEMSTAD — Seaside visitors at Wachi beach (Slangenbaai) in Boca Samí, saw a large black substance at sea that had also washed ashore. The seaside visitors decided to go ashore and take a sample because they didn't know what the black substance was.The substance that at first seemed to consist of rubber or plastic material (not comparable with fine sand or dust), felt soft and appeared to be organic. Marine biologist Kristen Marhaver, affiliated with the University of California and working on her postgraduate research at Carmabi, stated this after viewing the black substance under the microscope. After enlarging the view it appeared to consist of small balls. Marhaver contacted colleague researchers of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California in San Diego because she had no idea what the substance was. “Three colleagues think it regards ‘balls of tar’, possibly formed by degrading or for example oil ‘sludge’ or sewerage waste. This form of degrading is possible with the constant movement and swell of the sea. In any case it’s not man made, like rubber or plastic, according to the marine biologist.

One of the American researchers thought he recognized the substance because it was comparable with the material that had washed ashore in Barbados, which happened to be degraded waste material from cruise ships. Marhaver could not say whether the material contains harmful substances. “We only suspect it regards degraded sewerage or oil material. We don’t know for sure and therefore cannot advise on what to do if this washes ashore. Most likely it’s old material that has been at sea for some time and therefore degraded (to minuscule balls)” said Marhaver.

The wind-direction had changed when this material washed ashore. Spokesperson for the Coastguard, Roderick Gouverneur, stated there were no other reports on this material washing ashore.

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