Ministries squabble over oil spill
As the oilspill off Mumbai moved landward, affecting a 3.5km stretch on the city’s coast and a 5-6 km stretch at the tourist destination of Alibaug in neighbouring Raigad district, the authorities were divided on what caused it. HT reports.Updated: Aug 09, 2011 02:05 IST
As the oilspill off Mumbai moved landward, affecting a 3.5km stretch on the city’s coast and a 5-6 km stretch at the tourist destination of Alibaug in neighbouring Raigad district, the authorities were divided on what caused it.
The Union shipping ministry said the source of the spill was the MV Rak, which sank 25 nautical miles off Mumbai on August 4 while carrying coal from Indonesia to Gujarat.
However, the environment ministry said the oil could be from the MV Pavit, the ship that drifted in from Oman and beached at Juhu on July 31.
“The spill is because of localised phenomenon and not the Rak,” an environment ministry statement said, quoting a Maharashtra government report.
A senior ministry official told Hindustan Times that the Maharashtra state pollution control board has been asked to examine the MV Pavit for a possible leak. The Central Pollution Control Board chairperson S P Gautam had been sent to Mumbai to track the exact source of the leak and study its ecological impact.
The Coast Guard, meanwhile, said fuel oil from the MV RAK, which sank about 25 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast on August 4, could be seen in a continuous trail for up to 12 nautical miles. The agency was using chemical dispersants to fight the oil slick.
Ecologists in Mumbai fear the worst saying the spill has spread to rich marine bio-diverse areas including mangrove forests with little effort to contain it. “It is unfortunate that the oil slick is evident at the peak time of fish breeding as well as flowering and fruiting season of most of the mangrove species,” said Swapna Prabhu, systematic botanist and taxonomist with the Bombay Natural History Society.
Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan said: “We have also asked National Institute for Oceanography to study the ecological impact.”