Ennore oil spill: Tamil Nadu government says oil recovery work complete in Creek area

It took 900 people and assistance from the local fishermen communities to finish the oil cleaning job, the government said.


Published Dec 21, 2023 | 1:22 PMUpdatedDec 21, 2023 | 1:22 PM

oil spill CPCL clean up

The Tamil Nadu government, on Wednesday, 20 December, said the recovery work in Ennore Creek, necessitated by an oil spill due to the impact of Cyclone Michaung, was over.

It took 900 people and assistance from the local fishermen communities to finish to job, the government said.

With the completion of the oil recovery work from the Bay of Bengal, the government said that the focus would now shift towards cleaning of the oil ingress in mangrove areas since it was a job that required some specialisation.

Oil cleaning complete

“The emergency oil recovery work in the aftermath of oil spillage in the Ennore Creek area got over today. Close to 900 people involving trained sea cleaning agencies with the support of the local fishermen completed the task,” an official release said.

The Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd said, “The cleaning of the oil slick in the Ennore Creek region by professional agencies was nearing completion and the area was returning to “normalcy”.

Around 90 percent of the shore is cleaned and balance was expected to be completed by tomorrow, the subsidiary of IndianOil Corporation Ltd, said.

“The Creek Area is almost clear of oil and clean up activity in Encore Creek by professional agencies is nearing completion,” the release said.

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Four agencies involved

Four specialised agencies Viraj Sea Cleaning Enterprises, Sea Care Sea Cleaning Services, Tens Hydralift Pet Ltd, and Neowin India Ltd — were involved in the cleaning operation, equipped with 128 boats, seven JCB machines, two tractors, eight gully suckers, and three hydro cranes.

Expert teams from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) visited the site and observed “no abnormal” conditions in Encore Creek presently, a press release from the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL) said.

“A total of 105.82 KL of oily water and 393.5 tonnes of oily sludge was removed till date,” the release said.

Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Environment and Climate Change and Forests, Supriya Sahu, who has been leading the teams on the ground, took an overview of the affected areas with a team of officers, representatives from Chennai Petroleum Oil Corporation Ltd, cleaning agencies, and impacted fishermen communities.

The team took a boat ride along the Buckingham Canal, Kosathalaiyar river, and Ennore Creek and oversaw the operation as it wound up.

The team observed that though the oil recovery and mitigation was over in most areas, deposits of oil in mangroves needed a longer time since it is a “specialised task” and needed to be done “carefully,” the release said.

Related: Oil trapped inside Chennai’s Ennore Creek area

Supervised by chief secretary

“It was further decided that for this purpose the forest department shall engage local fishermen through CPCL resources to undertake oil cleaning work in Mangroves with the help of smaller boats using oil boomers and soak pads,” it said.

Observing that the forest department has involved volunteers to check for birds impacted by the oil spill, the government decided that “four rescue teams will start moving from tomorrow to look for birds in need of rehabilitation including pelicans.”

The entire oil recovery and mitigation work was supervised by the State-Level Oil Spill Crisis Management Group headed by Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena.

The health department has deployed three ambulances with doctors and paramedics, with three more ambulances kept on standby by Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd for any health emergencies in the impacted areas, the release added.

Three mobile medical units continue to be deployed in the area which has benefitted about 3,500 individuals so far, CPCL said.

An oil slick was formed in the Ennore Creek located in North Chennai following 36 hours of incessant rain that began on December 3, ahead of the Cyclone Michaung making a landfall, causing severe flooding in the state capital and neighbouring districts.

Ennore oil spill: 4 sea-cleaning agencies join oil mitigation at Chennai’s CPCL

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