Staff Reporter

Action being initiated against owners or managers of the sunken vessel: PPT

No immediate threat of oil leaking in large quantities: PPT

It can have a devastating impact on Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, says Greenpeace

BHUBANESWAR: Even as sunken vessel’s owner was reportedly not coming forward to cooperate in salvage operation, Greenpeace, an international environment pressure group, on Thursday said oil spill at Paradip could damage environment critically.

Paradip Port Trust (PPT) on Thursday said action was being initiated against owners or managers of the sunken vessel for their non-cooperation and denial for taking up the salvage operation.

Since the vessel was not insured and the owners had submitted a forged insurance document, P&I Club was not forthcoming in clean-up exercise, PPT said. The MV Black Rose, owned by a Singapore-based company, sank on September 12 with 24,000 tonnes of iron ore and about 924 tonnes of furnace oil near Paradip Port. The port trust, however, said there was no immediate threat of oil leaking in large quantities as the fuel oil, which was in three other tanks of the sunken vessel, was in semisolid condition and not leaking.

Stating that it was taking all possible steps to prevent leakage of oil and remove the oil from sunken ship, PPT said one of its vessels with oil containment booms and skimmers had been deployed near the sunken ship to tackle spilled oil along with coast guard vessel ‘Vivek’.

Tender notification

Earlier PPIT had issued two global tender notification inviting firms to plug the air vents, sounding pipes and other holes to prevent oil spill from the ship and another for taking out oil from the vessel. The work was expected to commence from Saturday next. In the meanwhile, Greenpeace said in a Statement that “Oil can have subtle and long-lasting negative effect, like seriously impacting fish stocks. Oil can also bio-accumulate up through the food chain as predators (including humans) eat fish that have sub-lethal amounts of oil in their bodies.

Fishermen have already reported thousands of dead fish and crustaceans after the spill.” “The government must force the vessel owners to abide by the Polluter Pays Principle, and hold them accountable for damages to the environment, for economic losses in the area, and for the expenses of the clean-up,” said Sanjiv Gopal, Oceans Campaign Manager, Greenpeace India.

Terming it as a wake-up call, Mr. Gopal said “this is time to focus on larger issue of coastal development.

The short coastline of Orissa (480km) could see the development of over 10 ports in the next decade.

Accidents of this kind across 10 ports would devastate Orissa’s fragile coastal and marine environment, and the thousands of fishermen dependent on it.”

Greenpeace said oil spill could have a devastating impact as Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, home to the endangered Olive Ridley turtles, and the Bitharkanika National Park, which harbours India’s second largest mangrove eco-system and has the largest population of salt-water crocodiles in country, was not far from the accident place.