Chennai oil spill: Centre claims 90% of sludge cleaned up, but reports say job only half-done

Chennai: With the oil spill off the coast here raising concerns, the Centre on Saturday said a total of 65 tonnes of sludge has been removed so far and over 90 percent of the work completed. It also expressed confidence that the cleaning operation will be finished in a couple of days.

A volunteer cleaning up the sludge at Ennore. AFP.

A volunteer cleaning up the sludge at Ennore. AFP.

While the blamegame continues between Centre and state, Kamarajar Port chairman-cum-managing director MA Bhaskarachar said that they have started interrogating the crew of both the ship after an FIR was lodged against them. The Times of India reported that the ship and their staff have been asked not to leave the city until the investigation is over.

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. The directorate-general of Shipping was also holding discussions with the owners of the two ships regarding the payment of claims, an official statement of the Centre said.

The Indian Express said the Environment Ministry has issued a notice to the Kamarajar port authorities, asking whether they had installed the necessary infrastructure which was the call of the hour in such a situation.


"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 percent water, it added. Among others, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was providing special bio-remediation material for treatment of the collected oil sludge for safe disposal.

 

Contrary to what they say completing work in 2-3days not possible even for developed country, takes weeks: DMK MP Kanimozhi #ChennaiOilSpillpic.twitter.com/2u4zlwFgKf

— ANI (@ANI_news) February 4, 2017

However, according to Hindustan Timesthe actual amount of spill was almost 10 times more than what was officially reported. A source quoted by Hindustan Times also said the work was barely half-complete as the amount of sludge was somewhere around 116 tonnes.


Experts say the spill had spread from Ennore Beach to the coast beyond Thiruvanmiyur reaching the Marina lighthouse, covering a distance of over 30 kilometres.

The fishermen community have been worst hit in the oil spill disaster. Chief of the South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association, while speaking to The News Minute said that apart from those fishermen who go for deep-sea fishing, most in Chennai and Tiruvallur go for shallow fishing and they have incurred huge losses. There is also a concern about the disposal of all the waste.

Chennai Port and Tamil Nadu government have organised medical camps on Saturday at Ernavoor and Kasimedu fisheries harbour. Environmentalists have also been very concerned about the impact of the oil spill on the marine ecology.

On 28 January, two shipping vessels had collided outside the Kamarajar Port at Ennore, resulting in rupture for one of them which led to an oil spill.

A massive clean-up operation was launched in Tiruvallur, Chennai and Kancheepuram districts by engaging more than 2,000 persons at various sites including Ernavur, Chennai Fishing Harbour, Marina Beach, Besant Nagar, Kottivakkam, Palavakkam, Neelankarai and Injambakkam beaches.

With inputs from the PTI


Published Date: Feb 04, 2017 11:57 am | Updated Date: Feb 04, 2017 12:14 pm