Wednesday 9 October 2013

Oil spill of the coast of Maharashtra State, India.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has reported an oil spill off the coast of Maharashtra State close to Mumbai, caused by the rupture of a supplement pipe at a plant run by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited  on the Uran Coast on Sunday 6 October 2013. The incident occurred following a power failure, which led to a pump failing and a buildup of pressure in the pipe. The board has described the incident as small, with less than 1000 liters of oil entering the sea. However the environmental group Sky Truth, which used remote sensing technology to monitor environmental problems, has analyzed images of the slick taken by NASA's Modis Satellite, and believes the spill to be much larger. Sky Truth calculate the slick to cover an area of about 324 km², which would correspond to a spill of about 320 000 liters of oil, a far more serious incident.

Satellite image taken October 8, 2013, showing apparent oil slicks in the Arabian Sea off the west coast of India near Mumbai. NASA/Skytruth.

Fishermen on the Uran coast also disagree about the size of the spill. Many are complaining about nets full of dead fish and oiled equipment, and predicting that they will lose their incomes for weeks if not longer as a result of the spill. Local environmentalists fear that if a significant amount of oil reaches the shore it could have a more permanent effect on inshore sediments, the area being noted for its prduction of prawns, crabs and lobsters, none of which doe well when exposed to crude oil.

Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.