For the second time this week, marine life in the Marine National Park near Vadinar...
For the second time this week, marine life in the Marine National Park near Vadinar in Jamnagar district has been threatened, this time by an oil slick.
The slick, which was reported at 1.15 p.m. on Friday to the district administration, was believed to be 300 metres long and 15 metres wide. Indian Oil Corporation and Kandla Port Trust (KPT) vessels were rushed to the spot and engaged in emergency operations.
The KPT authorities, however, claimed that the slick was not an oil spill but an ``oil patch'' moving towards the shore from the high seas and was ``dispersed immediately using chemical dispersants''. KPT deputy vice-chairman reiterated it was not an ``oil spill'' as the oil had not leaked from any ship which was unloading oil cargo at two of the single buoy moorings (SBMs) of the IOC off Vadinar, in KPT waters.
``The floating oil patch was spotted moving towards the shore from the high seas, probably towards the IOC and the Reliance SBMs, by these two vessels who reported it to the port authorities. It did not originate from either of the ships which are still continuing to function at the SBMs,'' he explained.
About the origin of the oil patch, he said: ``It could be dirty ballast oil discharged by some `rogue ships' on the high seas, which they are not supposed to. We immediately sent our port-craft, `Surajbari', to encircle and contain the patch. The oil patches were not of considerable size and were immediately dispersed.''
However, Jamnagar district collector R.K. Pathak told The Times of India News Service: ``We don't know exactly what caused the slick. It could be the ship which visited the Indian Oil terminal on June 6.''
He said the crisis management team of the KPT and IOC had reported to him in the evening that the slick had been dissipated. IOC has an oil terminal at Vadinar from where the crude is taken to the Mathura refinery.
The culprit is believed to be an oil tanker which had recently visited the IOC terminal.
Superintendent of police Keshav Verma said the leak was spotted two nautical miles off the anchorage when an oil tanker `Eliki' from Basra (Iraq) was just off-loading its cargo in the submersible mooring at Vadinar. The slick was seen moving from Vadinar to Sikka when the emergency operations to dissipate it began.
Although the exact source of the leak is not known, it could have been from somewhere in the high seas. Unconfirmed reports said another oil tanker, `Rajendra Kumari', which had visited the terminal two days ago, could have been the culprit.
This is the second time this week that a serious environment hazard has been reported in and around the Marine National Park and Sanctuary. Earlier, on the night of May 31, a pipeline carrying brine-bromine effluent from the Tata Chemicals Ltd near Dwarka had leaked wiping out over 4,000 mangrove trees from the area.
A major damage is believed to have occurred to the sensitive corals and fragile eco-system of the Marine National Park because of this leakage. However, the forest department is yet to assess and analyse the extent of the damage.
The Gujarat High Court had last year passed a judgment asking the state government to stop all future industrial development in the Marine National Park in the interest of the flora and fauna there and take steps to conserve it. The court had asked the state government to ``re-consider'' its decision to grant permission for a pipeline between India and Oman to pass through the park.