Oil spill from MV Rak spreads beyond Mumbai

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Oil spill from MV Rak spreads beyond Mumbai
Mumbai:  The oil spill from the MV RAK carrier which sank near Dahej, 22 nautical miles from Mumbai, has thinned but it is still a worry. Environmentalists now say oil has spread beyond Mumbai to the Raigad district.Traces have been noted particularly between Uttan in Bhayandar and Gorai beach. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has inspected the area and has sent water samples for testing.

Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, however, says that the spillage is negligible and that there is no threat to Mumbai coast.However, environmentalists say if the oil spill enters the creek, it will affect the mangrove's ecosystem.

"It is quite close to the shoreline and there is not much distance separating the oil from the beaches and mangroves. Since this is the breeding season, this is the most vulnerable time of the year," said Debi Goenka, an environmentalist.


The Coast Guard has deployed two ships, including its anti-pollution vessel INS Samudra Prahari and Coast Guard vessel Sankalp, which are neutralising the oil spill by spraying chemicals that binds the oil and prevents it from spreading. The Coast Guard also conducted air sorties this morning.

The State Environment Department reported that oil patches have been seen at Gurai, Alibaug and areas near the Juhu Beach. The oil streak is reported to have stretch up to 5-6 kilometers along the Alibaug shoreline.

"It is quite close to the shoreline and there is not much distance separating the oil from the beaches and mangroves. Since this is the breeding season, this is the most vulnerable time of the year," said Debi Goenka, an environmentalist.

Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, however, says that the spillage is negligible and that there is no threat to Mumbai coast. (Watch) Oil leak has been limited to the area near the sunken vessel and there is no need to worry, the authorities said. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) says it has initiated the measures to clean up the area.

Earlier there were fears about whether the grounded ship MT Pavit was leaking oil but authorities have clarified that there is no oil spillage from Pavit. The Pavit was abandoned near Oman about a month ago after serious technical issues with its engines. It then drifted into the Arabian Sea and entered India's exclusive economic zone which extends 200 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast.

Last August, after MSC Chitra and MV Khalija collided off the Mumbai coast, the oil spill spread not just to the coast of Mumbai, but as far as Raigad and Elephanta, damaging the mangrove belt in and around Mumbai city, contaminating shores, and even threatening fishing activity.

"When the oil sinks, it enters into the food chain. The algae imbibe the oil and that may affect the entire marine ecology," said Swapna Prabhu, from Bombay Natural History Society.

This time too, fishermen have been advised to stay away from the area where the ship has sunk.

MV Rak sank off the coast of Mumbai last Thursday, with 60,000 metric tonnes of coal, 290 tonnes of fuel oil and 50 tonnes of diesel on board. Salvage operations will be difficult to undertake due to the rough weather and tidal conditions because of the monsoons. This means, Mumbai will have to keep its fingers crossed, hoping the oil lead is kept at bay and the vessel stays intact.



Read more at: https://www.ndtv.com/article/india/oil-spill-from-mv-rak-threatens-mumbai-coastline-125243&cp
The Coast Guard has deployed two ships, including its anti-pollution vessel INS Samudra Prahari and Coast Guard vessel Sankalp, which are neutralizing the oil spill by spraying chemicals that binds the oil and prevents it from spreading. The Coast Guard also conducted air sorties this morning.

Earlier there had been fears about whether another grounded ship MT Pavit was also leaking oil but authorities have clarified that there is no oil spillage from Pavit. The Pavit had been abandoned near Oman about a month ago after serious technical issues with its engines. It then drifted into the Arabian Sea and entered India's exclusive economic zone which extends 200 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast.

Last August, after MSC Chitra and MV Khalija collided off the Mumbai coast, the oil spill spread not just to the coast of Mumbai, but as far as Raigad and Elephanta, damaging the mangrove belt in and around Mumbai city, contaminating shores, and even threatening fishing activity.

"When the oil sinks, it enters into the food chain. The algae imbibe the oil and that may affect the entire marine ecology," said Swapna Prabhu, from Bombay Natural History Society.

Environmentalists also points out that salvage operations will be difficult to undertake due to the rough weather and tidal conditions because of the monsoons. This means, Mumbai will have to keep its fingers crossed, hoping the oil lead is kept at bay and the vessel stays intact.



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