Ship collision spills 1 tonne oil, turns up dead turtles & fish
Dead turtles and fish floated on the sea at Ernavur, near Ennore, a day after the fuel tank of an oil tanker ship burst following a collision with an LPG carrying vessel. At least one tonne of heavy furnace oil (HFO) from the fuel tank of MT Dawn Kanchipuram may have leaked into the sea, said M A Bhaskarachar, chairman of Kamarajar Port at Ennore. Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officials said the clean-up could take a few days as the oil spill has spread far. Many fishermen at Thiruvottiyur kept away from the sea, citing the possibility of a fire at midsea. After Saturday’s collision, the two ships, BW Maple and Dawn Kanchipuram, have been anchored about 2.5 nautical miles from the north breakwater of the Kamarajar Port. Ennore port officials said the collision may have occurred due to human error. “There may have been a miscommunication between the two ships. We are studying the cause of the collision,“ said Bhaskarachar.
A ship that arrives at or leaves a port has to be piloted by a navigator attached to the port to assist the captain. The pilot had disembarked from BW Maple, an LPG tanker, which had discharged the gas at the port. The inbound Kanchipuram Dawn suffered a rupture after it smashed into the BW Maple, which was leaving the port.
After the TNPCB surveyed the sea around Ennore, the Indian Coast Guard began the mopping operations of the slick on Sunday . The spill is concentrated around Ernavur, while it has spread at least a few kilometres across.
The coast guard has mobilised its Pollution Response Team (East) team for the mopping operation in close liaison with the collector, the pol lution board, port officials and local fisheries authorities.
“The team led by the deputy officer-in-charge, Coast Guard Pollution Response Team (East), rushed to scene and carried out the assessment of the oil slick that drift ed near the Ram Krishna Nagar Kuppam beach,“ a coast guard official said. “Initial assessment indicated a small patch of about 50×30-metre along the rock beach area was affected by HFO suspected to be from MT Dawn Kanchipuram.“