- Collision of 2 ships off Chennai coast last week caused massive spill
- Authorities denied spill first, estimate was later revised several times
- Coast Guard rejects time was lost and clean-up was haphazard
The Coast guard denies there was any delay in response after cargo ships carrying Liquefied Petroleum Gas and petroleum oil lubricant collided near Chennai's Kamarajar Port.
After initially denying any spill, the port authorities said 200 litres had leaked. The figure was amended to one metric tonne, then two-three, and finally, the Coast Guard released a more worrying assessment - 20 tonnes. Experts have wondered whether in the phase of denial, previous time was lost.
Tonnes of thick sludge collected from the worst-hit among the beaches of Chennai will be treated with bacteria. On the 74 km coast in Chennai, tar balls have piled up in a 12-km stretch.
Mr Bargotra also dismisses criticism that his team lacks modern equipment, especially after it emerged that super-sucker machines failed to extract the sludge. "We have skimmers but weren't effective. In a rocky situation like this manual operation is very effective," he said.
An inquiry has started into the spill. Chennai Port Trust Chairman P Raveendran says, "Action will be taken according to the polluter pays principle.