Two Weeks Since Ship Grounding In Chilika, Transport Department Wakes Up To Oil-Spill Risk

26 August 2019

Debashish Maharana

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Bhubaneswar: It has been more than two weeks since a Malaysian cargo ship grounded in Chilika’s Rajhans, an ecologically sensitive stretch on Odisha coast. The tug, JIN HWA 32 contains 30,000 litres of diesel, 1000 litres of lube oil and 200 litres of hydraulic oil.

Transport and Commerce Minister Padmanabha Behera had earlier said that the defunct ship did not pose a risk of oil spill and efforts were on to evacuate it. However, now the Transport Department has initiated talks with the owner of ship to start removal of oil from the vessel.

Behera said, “A couple of days back talks were held over the possible ways of removal of oil from the cargo ship.” On August 10, the tug was caught in the stormy waters and subsequently developed a snag after which it drifted ashore in Chilika, the largest coastal lagoon in the country with a length of 1,100 km.

The incident occurred at 'Khirisahi Chari Chaka' under Krushna Prasad Police Station limits when the empty 27 tonne bollard pull tug was towing Hwa 42, a dump barge on its way to Visakhapatnam from Mongla Port to transport stone aggregates (chips) to Bangladesh.

The Coast Guard has already raised concern over possible spillage of oil from the vessel and warned the ship owner. The vessel has on board 10 crew members, including seven Myanmar, two Malaysian and one Indian national.

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Padmanabha Behera, Transport and Commerce Minister, Odisha