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KARACHI: Oil slick threatens city shores

October 08, 2006

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KARACHI, Oct 7: The crude oil spilling into the sea from the oil barge which capsized near the Karachi Port on Friday may pose a grave danger to the marine life as well as people living on the seaside.

Waves hitting the Seaview shores were seen carrying crude oil, which had spilled out of the capsized barge near the Karachi port with 70 tons of furnace oil that swayed with the waves along the shore.

People jogging along the beach on Saturday morning witnessed yellowish polluted foam and dead fish strewn all over.

The KPT officials said that a barge 'Orient One' belonging to a private company, was carrying oil to the Port Qasim, when the seawater accumulated into the engine room due to strong sea waves, the barge sank in the open sea, off 3.1 nautical miles from the city’s port.

The owner of the barge, Malik Qutub, said that the barge was carrying around 70 tons of oil at the time of accident, whereas its actual capacity was 200 tons. The rescue teams have saved the life of five crew members of the barge.

Sindh Minister for Environment and Alternate Energy Dr Saghir Ahmed said that there was no fear of damage to marine life due to the leakage of oil from the sunken barge.

This, he said while visiting the spot along with newsmen. The minister said that all preventive measures had been taken and German environmentalists were summoned who would reach Karachi in four to five days to assess the losses.

Meanwhile, the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) management concerned have advised the general public not to visit Seaview beach as a precautionary measure to avoid hazards of the contamination of seawater caused by oil leakage.—PPI

While some quarters are apprehending oil spill from the sunken barge into the Arabian Sea, KPT’s marine pollution department chief said that the tank of the ship was intact and at present there was no threat to the marine environment, our staff reporter adds.

We have repeatedly visited the spot, where the barge had sunk, on Saturday and are satisfied that there was no leakage from the tank and if very negligible quantity of oil which would have come out of engine of the barge was there, said Yahya Usmani, Manger Marine Pollution Control department of the KPT.

There does not arise any question of reaching any oil slick to the seaside as a result of sinking, he said, adding that every possible precautionary measure had already been taken, including the deployment of dispersant spray team at the spot.

To a question, Mr Usmani said that there was a possibility of spillage of oil from the barge when it would be pulled out of the sea and turned to its right position.

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