Mumbai, Oct 10 IANS | 10 months ago

Four days after an oil leak from a pipeline spread a slick in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, fishermen in neighbouring Raigad have been advised against venturing into the sea, officials said Thursday.


"The fishing community, especially in Uran and surroundings, has been advised to stay on shore till the oil spillage is completely cleared," said an Indian Coast Guard official.

Last Sunday's huge oil slick, triggered by a leak from an Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) pipeline spans an area of between two-three kms, off Mumbai coast.

The Coast Guard, which has termed the oil spill "minor" and under control, has also carried out several sorties daily to assess and check its status.

The service, which has expertise to contain and control oil slicks, is usually the first call of distress in such oil leaks.

However, Sunday's leak prompted the ONGC to hire a Mumbai-based firm Sea Care Marine Services to carry out the mopping, retrieval and cleaning operations.

The leakage occurred from a two-inch pipeline with two kilolitres drain, and most of the leaked out crude oil was pumped back into the pipeline, ONGC officials said.

Presently, there is no oil in the sea as all the spilled oil has been retrieved. ONGC expects that by Friday, even the little crude oil stains on the shores in the affected area will be cleaned out.

In a related development, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has ordered directorate of industrial health and safety to carry out chemical analysis on the soil and sea water near the shores in the affected region as marine and aquatic life are the first victims of such spillages.

(Posted on 11-10-2013)