BREAKING: Oil spill found on Fraser Island beaches

WHAT are described to be 'oil patties' have been found near Fraser Island.

They range in size from about that of a coin, to as big as a $5 note.

Clean-up crews are heading to the scene now.

Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Patrick Quirk said it looks to be a small quantity of oil bits dispersed over a wide area.

"Although the quantity appears small we are not taking chances and have activated an incident control centre at Gladstone to ensure we have all the resources we need," Mr Quirk said.

The oil patties were located near the wreck of the Maheno north of Eurong to Dilli Village about 40km south of the beach.

"Queensland Parks and Wildlife Rangers are on standby to be involved in clean up as required," Mr Quirk said.

"Rangers will also conduct reconnaissance of Rainbow Beach and Double Island Point as a precaution.

"Experience has shown the best way to clean-up the beach is to remove the patties by rake and shovel.

"This minimises the impact on the environment and reduces the amount of additional sand collected."

Mr Quirk said flights were being carried out over the area to get a clearer picture of the extent of the incident.

A list of ships known to have been in the area is also being compiled.

Mr Quirk said this spill appeared to be significantly smaller than an incident in July last year when 10-15 tonnes of oil washed up from a spill off Cape Upstart.

Maximum fines for a corporation for a discharge offence can include $11.78 million under Queensland law and $17 million under Commonwealth law.

Topics:  beach fraser island oil spill

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