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Added on : 2021-05-29 19:20:03

After the Cyclone Tauktae struck havoc on 17 May, a barge,Gal Constructor, which got stuck on the rocky ridges at Vadrai coast,Palghar with 137 crew onboard, has started to spill 80,000 litre diesel and similar quantity of lube,grease and other liquids into the waters and as a result, small fishermen are facing problems in catching small fish along the coast as the same reeks of the fuel as a layetr has formed over the waters,making fishing difficult. 

 Meantime the contractors of the barge have arrived at the spot and are making attempts to contain the spillage.

 On 17 May night the barge on ONGC duty drifted to Vadrai coast after it lost power and ran aground on the rocks,500 m away from the Vadrai jetty. The Coast Guard with the help of 3 Chetak choppers and ship rescued the entire 137 crew but the barge is still stuck at the coast jeopardising the environment and resultant marine pollution.

 Said Manendra Arekar,chairman of the Vadrai Machimar Sarvodaya Society has complained to the Port Officer,Palghar on the dangers of the marine pollution due to the spillage. The State government has banned on fishing from 31 May to 31 July due to the monsoons, and fishermen catch fish in the shallow waters. But due to the oil spillage the entire Vadrai,Satpati coast is reeking of fuel, oil and chemicals and as a result fishing is impossible as a thin layer of the fuel is formed and thus marine products are destroyed said Arekar. We have appealed to the Port Officer to take remedial action to prevent more damage to the coast and environmental issues he said.

 Poornima Meher,fish leader said the barge should be removed from the spot immediately before the onset of monsoon and also the spillage should be controlled and the entire fuel and oil load to be emptied on an emergency level or else we will protest at the spot as 12 days have passed since the spillage.

Work on to contain spillage

API Sudhir Dhayarkar of Satpati coastal police station said contractors and owners of the barge approached us and we provided security at the spot, as the team are at the location, to contain the spillage. They are using 'booms' which is a big ring  surrounding the barge and will soak up the oil and fuel spillage said the official. It is a time consuming process and we have not been informed as to when the entire fuel and oil will be emptied as the hull of the barge has formed cracks in some areas resulting in the spillage and the process could take months to clean up the spot,said Dhayarkar. Locals visit the barge during the low tide and click selfies of the barge making our job difficult to control the surging crowd said Dhayarkar.

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