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Thread: Oil Spill in Bhitarkanika National Park

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    Default Oil Spill in Bhitarkanika National Park

    I had recently made a short trip to Bhitarkanika National Park in Orissa which is home to over 1500 Estuarine Crocodiles, 8 species of Kingfishers, 215 species of avifauna (Resident and Migratory), 26 species of mammals, 34 species of reptiles, 15 species of fish and more. It is a mangrove ecosystem built around a river system and it opens into the sea at Gahirmatha marine sanctuary which is nesting grounds for the olive ridleys. The Paradip port is nearby and sadly enough the Dhamra Port is also coming in the nearby waters.
    In September '09, a Mongolian ship called Black Rose carrying 927 tonnes of furnace oil as well as 24 tonnes of diesel sank off the Paradip waters. Ecologists were skeptical about the effects of a spill on the environment. However the Paradip Port Trust stated that the situation was under control.

    Quoting a News Article from 22nd September stating the same.

    Bhubaneswar, Sep 22 (IANS) A Mongolian ship that sank near the Paradip Port off the Orissa coast is causing no environmental damage, port authorities said Tuesday.
    The Paradip Port Trust said the vessel sank Sep 9 with 924 tonnes of furnace oil. A total of 27 crew members were on board the ship. All but a Ukrainian engineer, whose body was found 10 days later, were rescued. A total of 900 tonnes of the oil was inside the double bottom tank that was fully secured. However, 24 tonnes of oil, including grease, was inside the engine room, the trust said in a statement.
    “The port trust’s Pollution Response Tugs and Coast Guard vessels, which are monitoring the area, traced escape of little amount of grease and diesel from the sunken vessel Monday.
    “It has been ascertained that the spill is from the service tank of the engine room and is negligible. It does not pose any threat. Also, there is no oil spill.
    “There has been no danger to the marine environment so far. Both the port trust and Coast Guard are on high alert to tackle any pollution.”
    A section of the media Monday said the ship had spilled huge amounts of furnace oil and a thick film of black crude oil was visible on the sea near Paradip. Dead fishes lie scattered on the shore.

    The article may be found at http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/...100250673.html

    During my last visit I noticed certain disturbing signs which proved contrary to the statements made in September that the spill was in control. On 17th Dec, we noticed that in high tide, the water in the national park was dark with a thick layer of oil on its surface. I asked the forest department as to why they had not reported it as yet, they said that it was only in the last 2-3 days (ie 15th-16th Dec) that the oil had started coming during the high tide. The oil from the sunken Mongolian Ship has entered the sanctuary waters. Oil spills can have disastrous consequences to this extremely fragile and rare ecosystem.

    Sharing images from the same trip showing the oil spill...
    You take a call and think if this is only a minor spill or the beginning of a major ecological disaster.

    NOTE: This happening has not yet been reported by the forest officials. The Crocodile Census in BhitarKanika is from 31st Dec '09 to 8th Jan '10

    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Bibhav Behera; 24-12-2009 at 06:47 PM.
    Regards,
    Bibhav Behera
    www.bibhavbehera.com

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    Default More Images...

    Sharing a few more...
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Regards,
    Bibhav Behera
    www.bibhavbehera.com

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    More images continued
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Regards,
    Bibhav Behera
    www.bibhavbehera.com

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    In this image one can see an estuarine crocodile entering the waters... The oil can be seen on the surface.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Regards,
    Bibhav Behera
    www.bibhavbehera.com

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    The images are shocking. Yet another "protected" space bites the dust.

    I just spoke to a friend who is in the oil and gas industry. From the images that you have posted the oil film looks thin (I am speculating). Hence, technically it is a minor oil spill.

    But that is not the point of contention here. The point of contention as you rightly pointed out is the ecological impact it will have. More disturbing is the apathy displayed by the forest officials to this spill. The officials need to do a controlled burning of the oil film or use bio agents to break the oil spill. Bhirtakanika sure is lucky not to have a crude oil spill - that would have certainly created havoc in terms of its impact on this rather delicate ecosystem.

    On the whole, Bhitarkanika now is a nothing less than a crime scene. We got to take action. Thanks for the documentation Bibhav.

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    This is very unfortunate, that the oil has entered the sanctuary. The oil layer is very obvious in the images. As Ranbir has pointed out, it is good that it is not crude oil else the marine life would have been entirely destroyed.

    It is very important to see how soon the action is taken by the forest department to clear the oil.

    Thanks for informative update.
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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    This is shocking. However, should we be shocked?

    The problem is with our attention span. People forget issues. News channels move from one breaking news to the other. Has any news channel gone back to the news they reported earlier and reported back?

    I am not an authority on this issue and can't comment on how to get rid of the oil. I am sure, the Government would take steps, albeit belated, to alleviate the situation. I am writing to the ministry, you too can raise your voice.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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    Thank you Bibhav to highlight this news. Its certainly sad that forest dept. is not very serious about this...hope this won't affect the ecosystem in a big way...please keep updating about this...

    All best wishes,

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    Some good news in this regard. The spill has dispersed now and more oil is not coming from the sea. Hopefully whatever is left will be taken care of well and it wont affect the biosystem.
    Regards,
    Bibhav Behera
    www.bibhavbehera.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bibhav Behera View Post
    The spill has dispersed now and more oil is not coming from the sea. Hopefully whatever is left will be taken care of well and it wont affect the biosystem.
    This sounds like an "official" comment.

    "The spill has dispersed" means the spill is spreading to other areas.

    "Whatever is left will be taken care of well" - Who will take care apart from God?

    "it won't affect the biosystem" - Whose opinion is this?

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabyasachi Patra View Post
    This sounds like an "official" comment.

    "The spill has dispersed" means the spill is spreading to other areas.

    "Whatever is left will be taken care of well" - Who will take care apart from God?

    "it won't affect the biosystem" - Whose opinion is this?

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi
    Dispersed: Yes, to other areas.
    Whatever is left: Hoping that it is dealt with accordingly. No idea about any actions taken.
    Regards,
    Bibhav Behera
    www.bibhavbehera.com

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