On board ICGS Bard (Bay of Bengal): A probe has been ordered by the Directorate General of Shipping into the oil spill that took place after two ships collided off Chennai coast even as more than 2,000 personnel are busy clearing the slick, the Coast Guard said on Friday.
Its Eastern Region Inspector General Rajan Bargotra said the January 28 incident “is a major accident but a minor (oil) spill that occurred in nearly 34,000 square metres on the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal”.
The mishap had taken place 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 (POL), was on its way to berth at Kamarajar Port.
“Oil spill has occurred in nearly 72 km of the eastern coast from Ennore Port to Mahabalipuram. About 12 km got affected with oil slick and about 250 metres, particularly in R K Nagar Kuppam area, was most affected,” he told reporters.
The official said 72 tonnes of the sludge has been cleaned up and 54 kilolitres of oil mixed with water collected through super sucker equipment.
“An inquiry has been ordered by DG Shipping and based on that we will be able to know the exact amount of oil spilt into the sea,” he said.
He said the coasts of Marina and Elliots beaches at Thiruvanmiyur will be cleaned up by Saturday evening and it will take at least three-four days to clear the south coast area which was affected.
“At least 10 days will be needed to clean up the Ennore Port area (where the incident had occurred),” he said.
As many as 2,600 personnel from various agencies including the Coast Guard, Tamil Nadu Police Coastal Security Group, Pollution Control Board, Fire and Rescue Department, State Highways, Chennai Port Trust, Chennai Corporation, volunteers from various colleges, universities and NGOs are involved in the cleaning operations, he said.
Chennai Port Trust Chairman P Raveendran said scientists from IOC Faridabad, Petroleum Ministry Additional Secretary, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Shipping have already arrived to take stock of the situation.
He said another inquiry has been ordered under Captain Subhash Kumar to identify the cause of the mishap.