Two vessels namely, BW Maple and Dawn Kanchipuram collided with each other while crossing outside the Kamaraj harbour in Tamil Nadu at 3:45 AM on January 28.
Kamaraj Port Limited in their press release dt. 28.01.2017 had said that there is no damage to the environment like oil pollution and extents of damage to the vessels were under assessment.
Meanwhile M T Dawn Kanchipuram had suffered damage leading to a massive oil spill along shores of Chennai for about 40 Sq Km.
The details are presented below
Nature of Cargo: Crude Oil
Total Cargo in the ship: 35000 – 45000 tons (No clear data available)
Quantum of Oil spilled: Unknown
Clean up operation at sites: Ernavur, Chennai fishing harbor, Marina Beach, Besant Nagar, Kottivakkam, Palavakkam, Neelankarai and Injambakkam Beaches.
Agencies involved in cleaning: The Coast Guard, Chennai Port and Kamarajar Port, The State Government and its agencies, INCOIS (Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services), Indian Oil Corporation, HPCL, NGOs, Cadet Trainees from Maritime Educational Institutions, Fishermen and Public.
Total oil removed: Approximately 203 tons & more of oil has been removed from water and soil so far. According to Tamil Nadu fisheries minister D. Jayakumar almost 85% of oil has been removed from the sea using ‘super sucker’ equipment and other mechanisms.
Time required for cleaning: 2 days approx (Source: NEWS)
Treatment of collected oil: Degradation through bio-remediation
Impact on Marine ecology: Shallow water regions or near-shore areas such as beach, inter-tidal zones and sub-tidal areas such as estuaries are dynamic ecosystems.
Ecologists have stated that the current oil spill took place in an already vulnerable near-shore region of Chennai and its impact is highly damaging on Chennai’s marine ecology and is going to affect for long time.
Ennore, Coovum and Adyar estuaries in Chennai are important breeding grounds for many species of fish, shrimp and crabs; their flushing tidal waters contains several habitat such as salt marshes, mud flats, sea grass beds and mangroves. Near-shore areas also act as nursing grounds for fish during their most crucial early life stages.
Pelagic animals such as crabs, shrimp and other fish which mainly feed on seabed deposits are exposed to ingestion of oil in weathered states. The Olive Ridley turtles nest on the Chennai coast during January to April and this oil spill has resulted in death of many turtles which came to their breeding grounds.
Economically local fishermen and tourism is affected.