January 13, 2011

Oil leak In India Threatening Olive Ridley turtles :(

The Telegraph - Calcutta, India
written by Manoj Kar
Saturday January 8, 2011

Leakage of oil from the Paradip-Haldia pipeline following a crack has posed a threat to the aquatic life including the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles.

The underground pipeline of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), for carrying crude oil from Paradip port to its oil refinery at Haldia in Bengal, cracked near the Sansara creek at Sandhakuda on the outskirts of Orissa’s port town, official sources said here today.

“There was a crack in the pipeline due to a technical snag. It occurred, most probably, on Thursday night. Fishermen informed us about the incident. We have since plugged the crack and there is no leakage now,” V.C. Suti, deputy general manager of Paradip-Haldia project of IOCL said today.

Suti, who agreed that aquatic life had been affected by the leak, said: “We will compensate the losses suffered by traditional marine fishermen after assessing the situation and obtaining a report.” In the 300 acre Sansar water body, located on the mouth of the Bay of Bengal, there are 25 prawn gheries set up by traditional marine fishermen. “We are taking up the matter with the authorities to contain the toxic effect on the water bodies as the leaked crude oil has already got mixed with the water,”added Suti.

However, he said, at present there is no cause for worry. After inspecting the spot, Pabitra Kumar Pradhan, district fisheries officer, Jagatsinghpur, said thick layers of oily substance were floating in the water and a large number of fish were found to be dead in the area under the toxic effect of crude oil.

“If the oil further slicks into the sea, it could affect the Olive Ridley sea turtles visiting the sprawling beaches in the district. The Orissa government is not equipped with the mechanism to regulate the toxic effect of oil slick. IOCL should initiate remedial measures immediately to negate the impact. We are assessing the losses caused to the fishermen,” Pradhan said.

A team of officials from Orissa State Pollution Control Board (OSPC) rushed to the site to asses the impact on the environment. Local fishermen said their year-long labour had gone down the drain due to the oil slick. “All the prawn catches in the area perished due to leakage and we have already suffered huge loss. IOCL should ensure that there is no repetition of such incidents,” said Gayadhar Behera, a fisherman.

Narayan Haldar, president of Orissa traditional marine fishermen’s association, said: “Oil leak or toxic impact on the water in the area being perpetrated by industries including IOCL has become routine phenomenon...Though the state government has imposed ban on fishing for seven months keeping in view safety of Olive Ridley turtles, the remaining months are marred by intermittent incidents of oil leakage and resultant toxic effect on the aquatic life.”

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