Tuesday 13 April , Wild Life expert said “Hundreds of fish have died and thousands of endangered sea turtles and their eggs face a threat due to an oil leak from an Indian ship two km off Orissa’s coast near Gopalpur port”.A coal-carrying Indian ship sailing from Indonesia that hit a berth at Gopalpur port in Ganjam district of Orissa on Monday started leaking oil endangering the lakhs of eggs of marine Olive Ridley turtles on Rushikulya beach.
An oil coat was found spread over a seven km area off the beach – just 200 metres from the site of the eggs,’ Mohanty told IANS from the site.
‘Marine fauna which form the food for the turtles will be severely affected by the oil. Dolphins can also be impacted by the spill,’ he said.
The non-coking coal laden ship sailing from Indonesia had anchored nearly two km away from the port at Gopalpur in Ganjam district, about 170 km from here, when a barge hit it, leading to the oil leak Monday evening.
‘The barge engaged in cargo operation went out of control due to rough sea conditions and hit the ship,’ P.K. Panigrahi, a senior official of the Gopalpur port, told IANS.
Fishermen who had gone fishing in the early hours of today first reported the oil clogging their nets. They had to return without fishing.
Gopalpur port director said the situation is under control with both port and Coast Guard personnel working to stop any oil spill. "The entire fuel oil from the ship was transferred to a tanker within an hour," he said.
The Chief Wildlife Warden of Orissa and the Orissa State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) have been alerted about this marine disaster and urged to take immediate mitigation measures. Mohanty said the spilled oil has to be recovered so that there is no adverse effect on the turtle eggs or the marine fauna.
“The barge engaged in cargo operation went out of control due to rough sea conditions and hit the ship,” P.K. Panigrahi, a senior official of the Gopalpur port, told IANS.
“There was a leakage of about seven to eight tonnes of fuel oil from the ship. But the leakage was spotted and contained within half an hour,” he said.
The port authorities engaged 400 workers to remove the oil from water and coast but Mohanty said the cleaning process was slow.
District Collector V.K. Pandian said officials have been sent to assess the damage caused by the oil to marine life and environment.