Local fishermen and morning walkers were shocked on Monday morning to see their Marina Beach coast covered in a thick black layer of oil with several dead turtles washed ashore.
The spilled oil that supposedly came from the two ships that collided on Saturday near Chennai’s Kamarajar Port has spread along the shoreline closing the Marina Beach.
On Saturday, two cargo ships – MT BW Maple and MT Dawn Kanchipuram – carrying petroleum products collided about two nautical miles from the shore which resulted in a severe oil spill around the port. Though no one was injured in the mishap, the spill has presumably caused serious damage to the marine ecology. Various fishermen organisations at Ennore and around the Eranavur beach found that the thick slick of oil is resulting in washing up of dead fish and turtles near the coast.
In a statement issued in Chennai, the Coast Guard said it received information about drifting oil spill near Ennore from an inspector of the Fisheries Department. The Coast Guard is presently carrying out the operations to remove the oil.
“The Kamarajar Port Authority continues to underplay whatever happened claiming that the damage is under assessment. Reports of turtle fatalities are surfacing continuously,” Chennai-based journalist and social activist Nityanand Jayaraman told The Logical Indian. “Cleaning the mess would be a joint responsibility of the district management, Kamarajar port authority and coast guards,” he added.
Several environmental experts are of the opinion that this spill could have a long lasting impact on marine life, even to the extent of causing irreparable damage. Fishers are now finding it difficult to go fishing.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has launched a detailed probe to ascertain the damage that has been caused.
An oil spill expert (name withheld) told The Hindu, “The only way to clean the beaches is to remove the portions that have oil and let the sea replenish it because this is very heavy oil and difficult to clean. Looking at the way the spill is moving, it seems as if the volume of the oil spilt is larger than they are currently acknowledging. Oil spills move due to wave action and also through ocean currents. The waves also break up the oil plumes into smaller portions.”
The Logical Indian urges the Tamil Nadu government along with Port authorities and coast guard come together and act swiftly to remove the oil spill from the sea as it is eventually taking a heavy toll on Marine ecosystem that exerts a direct influence on lives of people.