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Black swan - Port of London Authority rescues oily bird

PLA staff Ryan Pearce and Lawrence Kent reassure the rescued swan by Tower BridgePLA staff Ryan Pearce and Lawrence Kent reassure the rescued swan by Tower Bridge

An oily swan had the Port of London Authority (PLA) to thank after it was rescued by quick-thinking staff and taken for a clean up.

The graceful river resident was spotted near Tower Bridge on Monday afternoon, as the PLA’s Thames Oil Spill Clearance Association (TOSCA) crew investigated reports of dumped oil.

A small Schultz tank had somehow got into the river, leaving a bit of a black mess in its wake. The small spillage was dealt with by a TOSCA boat and the tank removed, but the spill left the mute swan looking a little off colour.

PLA staff quickly, and safely, rescued the swan after some cowboy-style handiwork from deckhand Laurence Kent.

He said: “We saw the swan and someone asked if I knew anything about them. I’ve rescued a few in my time as I’ve lived on or near the river for years. I managed to gently lasso the bird and we put a coat over it. It was a bit agitated but it calmed down and the RSPCA collection officer arrived with a swan bag. It wasn’t covered in oil and will probably be released back into the same part of the Thames. It’s been seen in the same area for a few years, but unfortunately it seems to be on its own. Hopefully it’ll be back on the Thames.”

The swan was collected by an RSPCA officer and cleaned up at an animal sanctuary.

An RSPCA spokesman said: "This swan was very lucky that quick-thinking staff from PLA came to its rescue. The swan is currently being cared for and will be re-released as soon as possible."

For further information please contact: Gareth Dorrian, Port of London Authority.

Email: gareth.dorrian@pla.co.uk

Tel: 01474 562 251 / 07711 640099

About PLA

Our operations cover 95 miles of the River Thames. We work to keep commercial and leisure users safe, protect and enhance the environment and promote the use of the river for trade and travel This section includes information on all aspects of our operations, from how they are financed to boats we operate and the services we provide.

About Tosca

In readiness for any pollution incident, the PLA-managed Thames Oil Spill Clearance Association (TOSCA) provides a 24-hour response to oil spills between Tower Bridge and Canvey Island.

Funded in part by the terminals that handle oil and oil products, the service has two purpose-built craft, each designed to collect and/or contain oil in the first critical hours after a spillage.