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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Stranded for three weeks near Chilika lake, Malaysian vessel topples

The tug has around 30,000 litres of diesel, 1,000 litres of lubricant oil and 200 litres of hydraulic oil and in the event of any leak, it could damage the sensitive ecosystem of Chilika lake.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2019 23:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
The Malaysian vessel  ran aground near Chilika lake on August 7 after it drifted in a storm in the Bay of Bengal.
The Malaysian vessel ran aground near Chilika lake on August 7 after it drifted in a storm in the Bay of Bengal.(HT PHOTO)
         

Twenty days after a Malaysian tug on its way to Vishakhapatnam port from Bangladesh ran aground near the eco-sensitive brackish Chilika lake, the vessel finally toppled over Tuesday sparking concerns of possible oil leak.

Puri sub divisional police officer Kishore Mund said the tug which ran aground on August 7 at Khirisahi near Rajhans island close to the Chilika mouth toppled over this afternoon. “However, there is no danger of oil spill as of now from the engine. We are monitoring it,” he said.

Mund said two experts who came from Paradip port to repair the stricken ship, returned without doing so.

The vessel, JIN HWA 32, has around 30,000 litres of diesel, 1,000 litres of lubricant oil and 200 litres of hydraulic oil and in the event of any leak, it could damage the sensitive ecosystem of the lake. Puri district collector Balwant Singh said the owner of the ship has been contacted and extraction of oil from the ship will begin from Wednesday.

After unloading its cargo in Bangladesh, the ship with 7 Malaysians, 2 Filipinos and an Indian on board was on its way to Vishakhapatnam port when it was caught in a storm in the Bay of Bengal and drifted towards Odisha. It ran aground near Rajhans at Chilika lake on the night of August 7. All the 10 crew members were rescued by the Coast Guard.

Earlier this month, the Coast Guard had asked the ship’s owner Gimhawk Enterprises, to take measures to prevent any leakage of oil into the water around it. “You are hereby warned under section 356(J) 1(B) of the Indian Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 to ensure all necessary measures are undertaken to prevent any leakage of oil from Tug JIN HWA 32 causing oil pollution in the area,” the Coast Guard had said, warning of action under section 356(K) of part XI of Indian Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

Odisha’s Chilika lake, Asia’s largest brackishwater lake is a designated wetland site of international importance under the Ramsar Convention that hosts millions of migratory birds every winter in Nalabana bird sanctuary within its area.

First Published: Aug 27, 2019 23:31 IST

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