Over 20 tonnes of oil have been spilled into the Bay of Bengal following the collision of LPG vessel MT BW Maple and oil tanker MT Dawn Kanchipuran, the Indian coast guard reports, adding that it deployed both ships and aircrafts to coordinate the cleanup.
Initially, it was estimated that only two to three tonnes have been spilled. “The most impacted shoreline was identified near Rama Krishna Nagar Kuppam Beach where maximum amount of oil slick has accumulated. High pressure super sucker pumps have been pressed into operation to extract the sludge. The collected sludge is being transferred into bowsers. In addition, the inaccessible areas are being cleared using manual efforts,” the authorities stated.
The oil spill is observed to be disintegrating gradually due to wave action and weathering. The ICGS Varad has been deployed with spill spray arms and oil spill dispersant to combat the distribution of the oil. So far, the ship has dispersed about 2 tonnes of oil spill dispersant (OSD) to neutralise the slick at sea. Response teams and around 200 volunteers have collected approximately 15 tonnes of oil and sludge since 30 January, two days after the accident.
“Approximately 95% of oil slick is towards the northern side of Chennai Harbour near to RK Kuppam Beach,” the coast guard added.
The cleaning of Marina Beach area, which is minimally affected, was completed on Wednesday 1 February. The third location (a stretch of 2-3 kilometres of shoreline around Thiruvalluvar) is also lightly affected and will be cleaned up once the situation north of Chennai has been addressed.
The owners of MT Dawn Kanchipuram, M/s Dharya, shipping have been directed to hire private agencies for containment and recovery of remaining oil slick.