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Major oil spill off the Nagapatinam coast
Mr.G.Chandrasekar Mar 06 2023 Marine News

Major oil spill off the Nagapatinam coast

A Major Oil spill has occurred off the Nagapatinam coast in the Central Tamil Nadu coast when large quantities of crude leaked into Bay of Bengal from ruptured pipeline of the dismantled Cauvery basin refinery belonging to the subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation

Officials of the refinery in damage control mode when they were quoted by local media reports as saying the leakage from the pipeline had caused minor damage to the shoreline

Although the leak has polluted the near shore waters and coast, the refinery officials termed it minor and said a joint operation is under way to repair the pipeline and remediate the affected area. The state government is likely to form an expert committee to quantify the leak and assess the extent of damage to the environment.  

The incident caused unrest among the fisher-folk of Pattinacherry hamlet as fish and other organisms started dying. Two sea vessels and a Dornier aircraft of the Coast Guard were pressed into service to survey the oil spill. The pollution was noticed up to 100 meters into the sea and fishermen in the area did not venture into the sea because of the spill.

As per the preliminary report submitted by the Nagapattinam District Environment Engineer, the fishermen of Nagore first complained of as kerosene” smell from the sea March 2nd. The refinery officials inspected the site immediately and couldn’t find the source of oil leakage in the sea.

Repair work started only on March 3rd several hours after the leakage was noticed. The officials said that it was only residual crude oil in the pipeline but its quantity could not be estimated.

The state Environment secretary Supriya Sahu was quoted as saying that she was told oil spill was not alarming, but an expert committee will be constituted, which will visit the site on March 4th and assess the quantum of leak

Fish and crabs are seen dead and washed on the shore. The fishermen had staged protests against CPCL and initially did not allow them to carry out repair works, forcing the sub-collector to hold peace talks.

Arun Thamburaj, Nagapattinam district collector said, “The spread is not going to be much and is restricted within 50 meters from the shore line.”