Oil removal from sunken ship ‘long process’, wildlife body worried (Lead)September 23rd, 2009 - 9:46 pm ICT by IANS
By Jatindra Dash
Bhubaneswar, Sep 23 (IANS) A global tender will be floated to pump the stored oil out of a Mongolian ship that sank off Orissa’s Paradip port Sep 9, but the process could take up to a month, port officials said Wednesday. A wildlife society is concerned that the delay could harm the breeding ground of Olive Ridley turtles.
“We have decided to float a global tender to pump out oil from the sunken ship. Since in India there are few companies having scientific expertise in pumping out oil from a sunken ship, we have decided to float the tender,” Paradip Port deputy chairman Biplav Kumar said Wednesday.
“We are following several legal and official procedures…the tendering process will take some days,” he said.
“It is a long process. It takes time. We will have to give some time for completing the work, which may take about 20-30 days,” Kumar told IANS.
The vessel, MV Black Rose, carrying about 25,000 tonnes of iron ore fines and 900 tonnes of oil, capsized in the Bay of Bengal, five km off the Paradip port. Kumar hoped that the oil removal would be completed within one and a half or two months’ time.
“It will cost several crores. It is the responsibility of the ship owner but he declined. We also found the ship officials had forged the insurance document,” another port official said, declining to be named.
“We had no other option but to give the owner time to respond as it involves legal complicacies,” he added.
“Now we have to spend money and this requires government approval. Although the central government has assured us help, the state government has not assured anything yet,” he said.
The Wildlife Society of Orissa, however, accuses port authorities of inaction and says such a delay could be hazardous.
“We are concerned over the inaction,” Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the society, told IANS.
The Paradip Port Trust has done nothing for the past two weeks except to keep a watch over the vessel and escort visiting officials to the ship wreck, Mohanty said. Port authorities, however, deny the charge and say they have taken all essential steps.
“The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is perilously close and an oil slick can easily spread to this area, affecting the world famous mass breeding grounds of the Olive Ridley sea turtles,” Mohanty said.
A letter was written Wednesday to the state Pollution Control Board to issue directions to the port trust authorities to undertake immediate measures, he added.
“Besides, I had sent a fax message on Sep 11 to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the Orissa government, warning him about the impending oil spill and the likely adverse impacts on the rich marine life of the sanctuary,” said Mohanty, who is also a member of the National Board for Wildlife.
“The migratory Olive Ridley sea turtles are expected to arrive by the month-end and it would be a disaster if these materials pollute the area before their arrival,” Mohanty warned.
A section of the media Monday said the ship had spilled oil and a thick film of black crude oil was visible on the sea near Paradip and that dead fish lay scattered on the shore.
But the port trust said the spill was from the service tank of the engine room and was negligible.
“Out of the 924 metric tonnes of oil, 900 metric tonnes are inside a double bottom tank fully secured and are very safe and cannot be released easily,” the port trust said in a statement Tuesday.
However, D.K. Behera, a scientist of the state Pollution Control Board, said he found oil patches on the beach.
“Although the furnace oil is in a sealed tank and in seawater, it is under pressure. We cannot rule out the possibility of spillage,” Behera told IANS after inspecting the site.
- US firm to remove oil from sunken Mongolian ship (Lead) - Oct 09, 2009
- Fresh oil from sunken ship blackening Orissa coastline: experts (With Images) - Oct 06, 2009
- Paradip Port to float tender to pump oil out of sunken ship - Sep 23, 2009
- Andhra-based company to plug holes of sunken ship - Sep 27, 2009
- Wildlife body concerned over delay in oil removal - Sep 23, 2009
- Bad weather prevents oil-plugging on sunken ship - Sep 30, 2009
- Central team reaches Paradip to inspect capsized ship - Sep 26, 2009
- Orissa forms crisis group to monitor oil spill off Paradip - Oct 08, 2009
- Orissa directed to monitor oil spill off Paradip port - Oct 07, 2009
- Sunken ship could threaten Olive Ridleys in Orissa - Sep 11, 2009
- Orissa port gears up to remove oil from sunken ship - Sep 14, 2009
- Oil spill on Orissa coast could be from sunken ship: expert - Sep 22, 2009
- Bids invited to remove oil from ship sunk off Orissa coast - Sep 24, 2009
- US firm to start pumping out oil from sunken ship - Oct 23, 2009
- Expert team to verify fresh spillage from sunken ship - Oct 05, 2009
Tags: bay of bengal, breeding ground, central government, deputy chairman, global tender, government approval, inaction, iron ore fines, oil removal, olive ridley turtles, orissa, paradip port trust, port authorities, port officials, ship owner, state government, sunken ship, tendering process, tonnes, wildlife society