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In PHOTOS: Oil spill threat to Mumbai shoreline

Last updated on: August 8, 2011 17:34 IST

In PHOTOS: Oil spill threat to Mumbai shoreline

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The oil spill from cargo vessel MV Rak off the Mumbai coast has decreased in quantum as compared to Sunday even as the authorities continued their efforts to neutralise resultant environmental pollution.

Freighter MV Rak sank off Mumbai coast four days ago leaking oil and Coast Guard ships have sprayed dispersants to contain the spill, which spread to about seven nautical miles around the ship till Tuesday.

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Image: Oil from cargo vessel MV Rak has spread to Mumbai's beaches
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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Source of the spill has decreased: Coast Guard

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An aerial recce of the oil slick was carried out by CG helicopter between 09:30 and 10:30 hours on Monday. It was noticed that the oil slick around the source of the spill has decreased in quantum as compared to Sunday and the rate of spill has reduced to approximately 1 tonne an hour, a Coast Guard release said.

It said the oil slick is visibly thin and a broken silvery sheen extending up to two miles from the scene of the incident is seen. Some of the broken oil patches have also been sighted up to 12 nautical miles from the sunken vessel.

Image: Oil from the ship had spread up to seven nautical miles
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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Pollution control operation in full swing

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Coast Guard ships Samudra Prahari and Sankalp continue to be engaged in pollution response operation. In order to neutralise peripheral oil patches, CG has pressed one more ship ICGS Amrit Kaur into action. A Dornier aircraft of the CG from Daman has also been deployed. "Every effort is in hand to check fresh oil hitting the coast/beaches," the release said.

Three CG teams comprising 30 personnel have been deployed for assisting the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and state authorities in analysing the impact in the affected areas and taking appropriate remedial actions, it said.


Image: 1.5 to 2 tonnes per hour oil has been leaking from the vessel
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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No cause of concern over oil spill: Natrajan

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Ruling out any cause of concern over the oil spill from a sunk cargo vessel off the Mumbai coast, Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan today asked the pollution authority to lift samples of the slick.

"I reviewed the matter with my officials in the ministry. At this point of time, we do not see a cause for concern," Natarajan told newsmen outside Parliament.

"We are constantly monitoring the situation. As far as exact facts are concerned, this is a matter, which is being dealt by the Coast Guard," she said.

Oil spill from a cargo ship that sank off Mumbai four days back has affected the city with oil reaching the beaches and water near its shoreline.

Image: Team of experts from the National Institute of Oceanography study the oil spill at Juhu Beach
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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Local fishermen asked to stay away

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Quoting Coast Guard reports, Natarajan said, "According to reports, oil is leaking about at the rate of one to two tonnes per hour. I have asked the local pollution control board to take samples. So far there is no cause of concern. There are some other reasons also for the oil presence in the water."

She said the Coast Guard has sprayed over 600 litres of aerosol to disperse the spill.

Local fishermen have also been given advisory due to bad weather to stay away from the sea till August 15, she said.

Image: Experts collect samples of oil, sand at Juhu beach
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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'Marine flora, fauna to have adverse impact of oil spill'

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Despite authorities claiming that the oil spill has decreased in quantum, experts have voiced concern over the ecological impact of the spill on marine life.

"The marine biota, including flora and fauna, will certainly have negative consequences due to oil spill," Dr Swapna Prabhu, Systematic Botanist/Taxonomist with the Bombay Natural History Society, said.

"The coastal areas of Mumbai and some areas of Raigad have threats of oil slicks. As the oil is already evident on Juhu beach, this concern is raised," she added.


Image: BMC, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board are analysing the impact of the oil spill
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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'Mangrove saplings may be wiped out'

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"It is very unfortunate that the oil slick is evident at the peak time of fish breeding as well as flowering and fruiting season of most of the mangrove species. Even the thin layer of oil persisting for significant time will kill marine fauna," Prabhu told PTI.

In case the oil slick reaches mangrove patches around this coast, last year's saplings will be probably wiped out, Prabhu said.

"As this is the fruiting season, this batch of propagules if it gets contaminated with oil, will be destroyed and there will be no regeneration as a result. The consequences may affect the size of population of mangroves for long term," she said.


Image: BMC has initiated measures to clean up the beaches affected by the spill
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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