Wednesday 18 September 2019

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Society | Environment

Oil spillage under control

 

The threat of oil spillage is withering away with most of the oil from the grounded ship off Sinquerim beach in North Goa being removed, though the picture would be clear only after final inspection takes place on Saturday.

The tourism industry thus appears quite confident about yet another smooth season, though charter operators had initially threatened to cancel its flights to Goa if the situation continues unattended.

The issue appears to have been viewed very lightly with no government authority monitoring the oil removal operation. Chief minister Francisco Sardinha however convened a joint meeting today of the concerned officials and Anil Salgaoncar, the ship owner, to review the work, based on a report submitted by the ship owner.

The Coast Guard, which is supposed to be the central co-ordinating authority in case of oil spillage, has withdrawn from the scene as the ship owner did not allow them to board the ship and remain there for monitoring till the operation completed.

"The oil is still spilling out but not to the extent of posing any danger to the ecology and sea life", said Comtd V S R Murthy, commandant of Coast Guard. Surprisingly, even chief secretary Ashok Nath is not prepared to comment on why the Coast Guard has been kept out of the operation in violation of the rules.

The oil spillage from the ship, which is grounded on the Candolim-Calangute-Baga stretch since 6 June with a ruptured bottom, was witnessed by the Coast Guard last month, only after which the authorities had woken up from deep sleep and 'requested' the politically powerful ship owner to empty the ship.

Instead of moving into action immediately to arrest the danger posed to tourism, the authorities have not done anything much than serving a simple show cause notice to the owner for a serious criminal offence otherwise. It is also proved by now that the ship is neither insured nor registered in India.

On the other hand, a delegation of concerned members of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, along with local hoteliers and charter operators also visited the beach yesterday to personally confirm the facts.

"The beach as well as water is fully clean and we are confident that the ship would be oil-free", says S V Balaram, the TTAG president. The charters are beginning to arrive in Goa from 8 October, which would go on till May next year.

"Though there is no other solution than breaking the ship, the CM has assured not to touch the ship until the tourist season ends", says Sanjiv Khirwar, the North Goa collector, who would ultimately visit the ship along with Captain of Ports on Saturday for inspection.






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