Grim news last week as scientists show that the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill on the marine wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico are much more pervasive and more serious than was previously imagined.

And while Total confirm that there is no longer a naked flame burning just above the flammable gas cloud on their stricken, leaking North Sea platform, the fact remains that an estimated 200,000 cubic metres of gas is still escaping every day, poisoning the waters around the rig, with who knows what implications for marine wildlife in the vicinity.  Most worryingly, Total seem somewhat nonplussed by the incident, with confusion around what is actually going on, never mind how to fix it (which, we are told, could take up to 6 months…).

Nonetheless, BP have been given consent for their deep-water drilling west of Shetland.

All this adds up to a very worrying picture – surely Government should be investing more in clean, renewable energy technologies rather than prioritising the chase for ever-diminishing supplies of fossil fuels in ever-harder to reach places, where the consequences for marine wildlife of any incident would be catastrophic? Contingency planning can only go so far – and as these incidents keep proving, even the best laid contingency plans don’t guarantee an adequate response.

We're working hard to protect our marine environment, including tackling Government about issues like these.  If you want to help us, consider becoming a Sealife Guardian today.

Oiled guillemot: Mike Richards (