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Chennai oil spill: Top 10 developments

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Hope the guilty of this major calamity are taken to task and punished..Sorry to note that children are involved in cleaning the mess!!

[h=1]Chennai oil spill: Top 10 developments[/h]
February 04, 2017 12:41 IST Environmental disasters

Six days after the collision of two vessels off Kamarajar Port in Ennore in Tamil Nadu that led to a massive oil spill, the Centre said on Saturday a total of 65 tonnes of sludge has been removed so far and over 90 per cent of the work has been completed.
MT BW Maple and MT Dawn Kanchipuram had collided in the early hours on January 28 and one of the ships, which was carrying 32,813 tonnes of oil, had suffered damage, leading to the spill.
[h=4]Early on Saturday, two cargo ships collided at the Kamarajar Port at Ennore, Chennai. MT Maple was leaving the port after offloading an LPG consignment. MT Dawn Kanchipuram (pictured here) was entering with a full load of petrol and lubricants.[/h]

1. The government has expressed confidence that the cleaning operation will be finished in a couple of days. The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is 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.
[h=4]A Coast Guard chopper joined ICGS Varad, an offshore patrol vehicle, on Friday and was involved in oil spill assessment and neutralisation. — Photo : S. R. Raghunathan[/h]

2. The release said ‘super suckers’ have removed 54 tonnes which contained 70 per cent water. The coast guard has been coordinating the operations jointly with personnel from the Chennai Port, Kamarajar Port, the State government and its agencies, IOCL, NGOs, Cadet Trainees from maritime educational institutions and fishermen. Teams of workers from the Greater Chennai Corporation and private conservancy agencies have been physically removed blobs of oil deposited along the beaches in Chennai.
[h=4]Personnel belonging to the Coast Guard and Chennai Corporation remove oil deposits on a shore near Kamarajar Port in Ennore on Thursday.[/h]

3. Health camps are being conducted at the site of the oil spill at Ennore and Ernavur in order to provide treatment to officials and volunteers engaged in the clean-up operations, if necessary.
A total of 60 doctors from Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Government Stanley Hospital and the Directorate of Public Health are there to treat breathlessness and skin ailments.

4. The Directorate General of Shipping has instituted a statutory inquiry under the Merchant Shipping Act to ascertain the causes and contributory factors that led to the accident and both the ships have been restrained from leaving the Port. DG Shipping was also holding discussions with the owners of the two ships regarding the payment of claims.
[h=4]clean-up continues: Students chip in with the cleaning operation along the Chennai coast on Thursday after a collision between two ships caused an oil spill last week. It is estimated that around 20 tonnes of oil still remains to be mopped up. — Photo: Vel Muruga[/h]

5. Speaking to The Hindu onboard the Coast Guard vessel, Rajan Bargotra, Inspector-General, Commander, Coast Guard Region (East), said much of the responsibility rested on the Ennore port and the company that owned the vessel.
“It happened near the Ennore port. They should have done more. We could only go to the site three-and-a-half hours after the incident. Since then, we had done 19 helicopter sorties to spray oil dispersant chemical over the last few days. As on Friday morning, most of it had been cleared.”
Read more
6. The bioremediation of oil sludge collected from the Bay of Bengal near Ernavur began at the Kamarajar Port Ltd in Ennore on Friday. Experts from the Indian Oil Corporation’s research and development team have suggested that Bio Innoculum and optimised nutrients be used to treat the sludge that has formed as a result of a leak from the ship last week.
A pit that is 2000 sq. metres in area has been dug inside the Kamarajar port and high-density polyethylene sheets have been laid inside it. Layers of earth, sand, sludge and contaminated soil collected from beaches would be laid and bio agents sprayed.
Read more

7. The Madras High Court has disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition noting that it's for the Central and the State government to take appropriate steps. Pointing out that FIR has been already filed against the two ships - MT Dawn Kanchipuram and MT BW Maple - the First Bench of Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice M. Sundar said that the authorities have already seized of the matter and it's for them to take appropriate action, including the aspects of providing compensation and recovering the costs from the owners of the vessels.
The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal on Wednesday ordered notices to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Central Pollution Control Board with regard to the oil spill. The case has been posted for further hearing on February 20.
Read more
[h=4]A dead turtle that was washed ashore following the oil spill. — File Photo[/h]

8. Several dead turtles and hatchlings coated with the black oil were washed ashore and discovered among the boulders.
Read more
[h=4]By Saturday afternoon, the spread of oil was seen on a 400-metre long stretch, 40 metres wide, near the Ernavur junction.[/h]

9. According to wholesalers in Chintadripet, a locality close the Marina beach, the fish catch from Kasimedu, one of the affected areas, contributes to only 5-10 % of the city’s consumption. However, customers are hesitant to buy fish following the news of oil spill polluting the coastline and the fish sales has dropped by nearly 50%.
Read more
10. The Hindu editorial on the issues:
“An independent inquiry is vital to determine whether the training and acquisition of equipment to handle such accidents for all agencies passed muster. Moreover, pollution response equipment for all major ports and 26 non-major ports is funded to the extent of 50% by the Centre, casting a responsibility on ports to contribute the other half and build the capabilities to handle disasters. Obfuscation of facts after an oil spill is counterproductive, since the impact is prolonged; moreover, it could erode the confidence of the international community in the country’s ability to fulfil its commitments within the UN system to protect marine life and biodiversity.”

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