Over 90% of clean-up work over in Chennai oil spill: Centre

Chennai
4 Feb 2017

With the oil spill off the coast here raising concerns, the Centre today said a total of 65 tonnes of sludge has been removed so far and over 90 per cent of the work completed. It also expressed confidence that the cleaning operation will be finished in a couple of days. Among others, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was providing special bio-remediation material for treatment of the collected oil sludge for safe disposal. "The total quantity of sludge which was removed till February 2 was 65 tonnes. It is observed that there is a vast difference between quantity of oil spilt and sludge recovered due to the fact that the oil gets coagulated and becomes puffy when it is recovered with water and sand," an official release said. "More than 90 percent of the work has been completed and most of the residual work is expected to be completed in a couple of days," it said. Further, 'Super Suckers' had removed 54 tonnes which contained 70 per cent water, it added. "The Indian Oil Corporation has provided special bio-remediation material for treatment of the collected oil sludge for its safe disposal. "HPCL has arranged for trailers and manpower for transporting collected sludge to Ennore port area for bio remediation treatment under the expert guidance of IOC R&D experts where 2000 Sq.M. pit has been created for the purpose," the release said. Chennai Port and Tamil Nadu government have organised medical camps today at Ernavoor and Kasimedu fisheries harbour. On January 28, two shipping vessels had collided outside the Kamarajar Port at Ennore, resulting in rupture for one of them which led to an oil spill. The release stated that as soon as the oil leak was tracked, the Coast Guard started mobilising equipment and manpower for clean-up at various locations and coordinated the operations. A massive clean-up operation was launched in Tiruvallur, Chennai and Kancheepuram districts by engaging more than 2000 persons at various sites including Ernavur, Chennai Fishing Harbour, Marina Beach, Besant Nagar, Kottivakkam, Palavakkam, Neelankarai and Injambakkam beaches. Meanwhile, government today said it is keeping a close vigil on the situation arising out of oil spill following the recent collision between two ships at Kamarajar port and is in talks with ship owners for payment claims. "The Coast Guard ship and helicopters are carrying out regular sorties for continuous monitoring of oil slick... D.G. Shipping is also holding discussions with the owners of the ships and the mechanism of distribution of compensation and payment of claims by the insurers will be shortly in place," said. Two vessels - MT BW Maple and MT Dawn Kanchipuram - while crossing each other had collided on January 28 outside the Kamarajar harbour. Kanchipuram, which was carrying 32,813 tonnes of POL, suffered a rupture which led to oil spill. According to the government's status report, the P&I insurers of MT Dawn Kanchipuram are in the process of establishing a local 'Claims Desk' and specifying the procedures for submitting and handling claims. "The representative from the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (a specialised international agency on 'Oil Spill Response' - arranged by the owner/P&I insurers of MT Dawn Kanchipuram) is already in Chennai," it said. The authorities involved in the operations are confident that the situation is under control and the entire cleaning up operation will be completed in a couple of days, it said. Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan is in Chennai to take stock of the situation. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari yesterday said the government has ordered a high-level probe, headed by Director General Shipping, to nail the guilty behind the oil spill and the report is likely in a month. The government said the damaged vessel was towed safely and berthed at Kamarajar Port on January 30 2017 and the vessel has completely discharged the POL cargo, preventing any further possibility of oil spill. "A massive clean-up operation was launched in Tiruvallur, Chennai and Kancheepuram Districts by engaging more than 2000 persons at various sites including Ernavur, Chennai Fishing Harbour, Marine Beach, Besant Nagar, Kottivakkam, Palavakkam, Neelankarai and Injambakkam beaches," the status report said.It said the Coast Guard has been coordinating the cleaning operations jointly with personnel from the Chennai Port and Kamarajar Port, the state government and its agencies, Indian Oil Corporation, NGOs, Cadet Trainees from maritime educational institutions and fishermen. Groups were formed and cleaning work was undertaken at different places of the shoreline.(PTI)