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Major Oil Spill in Kent

15th February 2022 – Bow Bridge Marina, Maidstone
On the 11th February a major oil spill on the River Medway was reported to the Environment Agency at Hampstead Lock who immediately classified it as a Category 1 ( the most serious) pollution incident. A boom was put in place to stop the spread of the oil but unfortunately this was not effective and on Tuesday we were called by concerned locals who had seen the oil flow through the flock of swans further down river near Bow Bridge. The Swan Sanctuary mobilised all its vehicles and boats and a team of rescuers from around the London area and set up at Bow Bridge Marina to catch the oiled wildfowl for transport to the Swan Sanctuary for cleaning. With the help of some keen local people we managed to catch 46 oiled swans and several geese, domestic and wild, the furthest birds we caught were as far downstream as East Farleigh. Catching them was of course just the start, they had to be transported back to the Swan Sanctuary and then the cleaning started, which carried on into the night. We are most grateful for the help of local members of the public, one of whom also help transport the stricken birds in their own vehicle. The incident was reported locally on Kent Online. The swans will remain with us until they are waterproofed and we can be sure the River Medway is clean enough for them to return.

Holding Point near Bow Bridge


Queuing for the bus


In the oils spill unit before cleaning


All the birds we rescued


Before and after cleaning one of our patients


Looking a little better after all having had one wash

The Swan Sanctuary