Oil spill from tanker involved in collision being mopped up: Coast Guard

Chennai, Jan 29 (IANS) Indian Coast Guard on Sunday said it coordinated the mopping operations of oil spill due to the collision of two petroleum product carriers off Kamarajar Port here.

The Coast Guard has already issued a notice to the master and the owner of the vessel to take all actions to undertake containment and recovery of oil spill and all to take all necessary action to keep environment clean as prevailing before the incident.

The collision between liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessel MT BW Maple and oil tanker MT Dawn Kanchipuram happened on Saturday early morning 4 a.m.

In a statement issued here, Coast Guard said it received information about drifting oil spill near Ennore from Inspector, Fisheries Department.

“The Coast Guard promptly mobilised their Pollution Response Team (East) team for the mopping operation in close liaison with the State District Collector, Pollution Board, (formerly) Ennore Port (now Kamarajar Port) and local fisheries authorities,” said a Coast Guard statement.

According to the Coast Guard, the initial assessment indicated a small patch of about 50 x 30 metre stretch along the rock beach.

The oil spill is suspected from the oil tanker MT Dawn Kanchipuram.

Coast Guard Pollution Response Team along with Oil MOP Skimmer with all gears under took the mopping operations to clear the drifted oil slick from the beach area.

“The mopping operation is likely to continue for the next day with an aim clean the beach from the oil slick,” Coast Guard said.

“There is no damage like oil spill and no casualty or injury to any person. Both vessels are afloat and anchored. The extent of damage is under assessment,” Kamarajar Port said in a statement on Saturday.

Shipping industry professionals had told IANS it was “providential” that no major damage occurred due to the collision which seems to be due to grave human error.

The LPG carrier was outbound while the other was inbound.

“It could certainly be said that it was a lucky escape as no major damage has happened to the vessels,” Girish Sehgal, LNG Vessel Technical Adviser, told IANS on Saturday.

He said the collision could have happened mainly due to human error.

Industry professionals said even if the LPG tanker is empty, there is always a risk of explosion due to presence of gas traces in emptied tanks.