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Oil spill: Clean-up will cost crores

india Updated: Sep 23, 2009 08:34 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Hindustan Times

Paradip coastline
Paradip coastline
Fish, crabs and other marine animals lie dead along a 2-km stretch of the Paradip coastline.
It’s going to cost crores of rupees to clean up the mess created by oil spilling since Monday from a sunken Mongolian ship 5 km from this port in the Bay of Bengal.

After refusing to admit on Monday that the 32-year-old freighter was spilling oil, the Paradip Port Trust said on Tuesday that it was indeed the sunken ship, MV Black Rose, that was leaking oil.

Paradip Port Trust chairman K. Raghuramaiah however sought to play down the damage done to the ecology. He said the 900 tonnes of oil the ship was carrying to power its engines and generators was sealed securely. What was leaking was the 20 tonnes stored separately for use in the engine room.

"It’s not a major environment threat. We have already checked the ship and 900 tonnes of black oil are still there in three different tanks. These 900 tonnes are in a
Sea water
Oil spill
Local people said the sea water appeared blacker than it was on Monday.
semi-solid state and to remove it from the ship, we have to heat it or inject steam into the tanks. It cannot leak," Raghuramaiah told HT.

Sushil Dutta, professor of zoology with North Orissa University disagreed. “Oil is oil. The spill will definitely impact the fauna component of the sea,” he told HT.

The Orissa government and the Paradip Port Trust still have no clue about who will carry out the salvage operation as the state does not have the equipment or expertise to deal with oil spills.

“We have not caused it. It is normally the owner (of a ship) who keeps running around to carry out the salvage operation. In this case, unfortunately, the Singapore-based owner has disclaimed the vessel,” Raghuramaiah said.

“The clean-up operation will cost crores. We are now waiting for orders from the shipping ministry on the clean-up operations,” he said.

Sunken ship
Sunken ship

Sunken ship MV Black Rose in the Bay of Bengal

On how the Black Rose was permitted to dock and load its cargo of nearly 24,000 tonnes of iron ore allegedly without valid documents, Raghuramaiah said the documents were verified only after the ship sank.

Twenty-six crew members of the Black Rose were rescued while the ship started sinking on September 9 but the Ukrainian chief engineer died in an accident, port trust officials said.

Many fish, crabs and other marine life species lay dead along a 2-km stretch of the Paradip coastline on Tuesday.

“The sea water in the affected area is looking blacker today. More oil seems to have spilled into the sea today in comparison to Monday,” said local shop owner S.K. Padhi.