Six days after a collision between two ships near Kamarajar Port in Ennore caused a massive oil spill along the Chennai coast, the Centre on Friday maintained that a larger environmental crisis has been averted.
Speaking to reporters in New Delhi alongside Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Pon Radhakrishnan, Shipping Secretary Rajive Kumar noted that there was 32,000 tonnes of oil in the MT Dawn Kanchipuram when the collision happened last Saturday.
“That would have been a huge problem. So immediately, the Indian registrar of shipping and DG shipping experts certified that the ship can be taken safely to the berth and it was emptied safely. This morning that exercise was completed. So, from that perspective a much larger problem which could have arisen has been saved,” he said.
Kumar also observed that 117 tonnes of sludge had been recovered until Friday with the Coast Guard estimating that 20 metric tonnes of oil would have originally leaked from the ship.
He also said that an inquiry is underway by DG Shipping to look into the accident and the final findings will be presented within a month’s time. Promising action, the Shipping Secretary said “the primary responsibility for paying for the clean-up operations will rest with the ship that erred in this particular event.
He also said that a committee of experts including marine biologists have been formed by the state government to see whether any further action has to be taken and pointed out that bio remedial measures are being carried out to ensure that the collected sludge does not leak into the soil.
“50 bags of bioremedial agents, which is basically bacteria that will eat into the sludge, have been provided. It has reached the site. This sludge has been put in a pit which is safeguarded by a thick plastic sheet. We expect this residue will be taken care of,” the secretary added.