KARACHI, Aug 17: While KPT is under heavy criticism by different sections of people, salvage team restarted transferring crude oil stored in the safe portions of the broken oil tanker Tasman Spirit on Sunday.
Sources privy to salvage operations said after relaunching of lighterage operation of the Greek registered ship, first loading of Fair Jolly, a tanker with lesser capacity, started on Sunday at 3.45pm. The tanker is likely to ferry about 6,000 tons of oil for further deposition in another big ship, Endeavour-II.
As the sea condition in the vicinity of Tasman Spirit was favourable, the small tanker was anchored along it on Sunday. In the first phase of the renewed operations, salvagers and the KPT authorities have planned to execute three trips by Fair Jolly and as such there is a likelihood of pumping out about 20,000 tons of oil, according tot the source.
Carrying 67,532 tons of crude oil from an Iranian oil terminal for Pakistan Refinery Ltd, Tasman Spirit ran aground in the harbour channel on July 27, while lighterage operations were initiated in the first week of August. Before the ship developed a major crack, which resulted in its break up into two, operators had been able to transfer about 19,000 tons of its stored crude oil to Endeavour-II.
When contacted, the General Manager (Admn) of Karachi Port Trust, Brig Iftikhar Arshad Khan, told Dawn in the evening that lighterage operations had begun and oil was being taken out of tanks located in the forward portion of the broken ship. Fair Jolly would ferry about 8,000 tons of oil in its first trip, he added, saying that the ferry process was time consuming and next loading of this small ship would be possible after 36 to 40 hours.
In the meantime, according to him, spray of dispersant from air entered in its third day on Sunday. He said 45 tons of dispersant as part of the pollution fighting operation had so far been dropped on the areas affected with oil slick.
However, Mr Khan maintained that no aerial spray was being done on vegetation or mangroves. He said beach cleaning works were also going on with the support of naval and army personnel, KPT staff and different civic agencies and the City District Government Karachi.
CITIZENS UNHAPPY: On the other hand, groups of citizens are still unhappy with the measures taken so far. They also blamed the KPT and other concerned departments for negligence.
Visitors in the oil-affected areas said unbearable smell still prevailed. The foul smell and black sends are still haunting, while oil traces are also visible in sea water, said a caller.
It was further claimed that affected sands and other debris were not being lifted swiftly. Different organizations, including Pasban and Citizens Coalition for Protection of the Coastline also held demonstration and walk in the city on Sunday.
The Pasban is of the view that about one million Karachiites, a large number of fishermen and numerous marine life were affected due to environmental catastrophe caused by the massive oil spill.
While seeking a judicial enquiry into the ship disaster, it claimed that about 9,000 tons of crude oil spilled in the sea due to the negligence of the KPT.