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Chennai oil spill: Thousands join clean up ops

The operations by multiple agencies to clean up the Chennai shoreline, hit by the oil spill due to collision of two ships, has made tremendous progress, according to the Coast Guard.

More than 1,000 personnel, including those of Coast Guard and state Pollution Control Board, removed about 21 tonnes of oil with sludge and 17 tonnes of sand with slush and the sheen of oil noticed can be removed in a day or two, it said.

The clean up work on a war-footing was carried out in several areas, including the Ennore shoreline, Marina and Elliots beaches by multiple agencies, including Coast Guard, along with the help of volunteers and local people.

“Approximately 1,100 personnel braving the hot sun came forward and assisted in removal of approximately 21 tonnes of oil with sludge and about 17 tonnes of sand mixed with sludge, sand mixed with oil and oil mixed with water,” a Coast Guard release said on Thursday night.

“At present, no significant oil patches are observed seawards from Ennore to Mahabalipuram. Only sheen of oil can be seen at some places which is likely to clear off in one or two days. Tremendous progress has been made towards sludge removal,” it said.

In aggregate, so far, 61 tonnes of oil with sludge and 44 tonnes of sand with slush and oil mixed with sand and water have been removed. On Wednesday, 40 tonnes of oil sludge and 27 tonnes of oil mixed with water were removed.

Coast Guard personnel along with the support from various government and non-government organisations continued shoreline spill clean up on a war footing.

“Coast Guard ship ‘ICGS Varad’ with integral helicopter was deployed throughout the day for spill assessment and neutralisation. However, nil traces of spill were observed at sea,” the release added.

Apart from Coast Guard, personnel from Tamil Nadu Police Coastal Security Group, pollution control board, fire and rescue department, state Highways, port trust, corporation, panchayat besides volunteers from various colleges, universities and NGOs joined the operation.

Earlier in the day, Tiruvallur District Collector, E Sundaravalli said, “Our team of officials are here and they are speeding up the work. It is assessed that around 20 tonnes of oil spill continues to be there, floating and we are working to clear it soon.”

The mishap had occurred when M T BW Maple, with a flag of Isle of Man, was leaving after emptying Liquefied Petroleum Gas and M T Dawn, Kanchipuram, loaded with petroleum oil lubricant, was on its way to berth at the suburban port, formerly Ennore port.

IMAGES: Coast Guard, State revenue personnel, local volunteers and fishermen removing black oil washed ashore as a thick oily tide from the sea lapped at the coast on Thursday, a day after an oil tanker and an LPG tanker collided near Kamarajar Port in Ennore in Chennai. Photographs: PTI Photo

Source: Rediff