Palghar/Mumbai, May 29 | Twelve days after Cyclone Tauktae’s devastation along the Maharashtra west coast, a new threat has emerged – complaint of an oil spill from one of the barges that ran aground near the Palghar shore.
However, the Indian Coast Guard late on Saturday denied the claims by local fisherfolks.
Local fishermen, who said they have noticed the oil spill around the grounded Barge GAL Constructor, off Vadrai, eported the matter to the Satpati police station.
Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti Palghar president Manendra Arekar, has raised the issue.
“We estimate there is at least 80-tonnes of diesel, besides large quantities of lubricants and grease on board the barge. It is 12 days since the barge ran aground, but no agency concerned has turned up here to remove diesel and oil board the barrage,” Arekar told mediapersons.
He claimed that as a result, diesel and oil are now leaking in a big way from the barge into the Arabian Sea and oil-slicks are already visible in the vicinity of the stuck barge, posing a big ecological hazard in the coming days.
Till July 31, the Maharashtra government has imposed a ban on fishing in the sea, because of the south west monsoon and thr breeding season of marine life.
“Already people have been complaining about the foul smell in the fish that we catch along the shore. Before long, the oil spill will affect the fish in the area,’ Arekar added.
He appealed to the state government and other authorities to immediately remove diesel and oil on board the barge and also do something about the oil spill in the area.
Reacting to the concerns expressed by the local fishermen about the oil spill in their area, the ICG said that the barge was carrying 78,000 kilolitres of “high flash high speed diesel” and not crude oil.
“No breach of the oil tank is reported… Afcons Infrastructure Ltd has arranged M/s Seacare which has laid a 400 mts boom around the barge while M/s Shree Krishna is undertaking hull repairs. Besides, M/s Smith & Coy has been hired for removal of the vessel, ” the ICG said.
The ICG said that its Guard helicopters had reported “silvery oil sheen” of 50 meters width.A “No oil spill has been reported on shore now and continuous liaison has been maintained with agent of GAL Constructor,” an ICG spokesperson said.
“Sorbent pads have been laid along the boom. It will be recovered with binge oil with the help of fishing boats,” the ICG added.