An ecological disaster looms large along India's western coastline near the shores of the country's financial capital Mumbai as oil has started oozing out of the sunken vessel "MV Rak", reported New Delhi Television (NDTV) on Monday.
The ill-fated vessel had started sinking Thursday. All its crew members were air-lifted.
The oil leak occurred due to the ingress of water in the cargo hull, added the report. "Since last night, oil has been observed leaking from the sunken vessel 'MV Rak' at an approximate rate of 1.5 to 2 tons per hour. The oil has spread about seven nautical miles around the vessel," it said.
The Indian Coastguard has deployed two ships, including its anti-pollution vessel "INS Samudra Prahari", which are neutralizing the oil spill by spraying chemicals that bind the oil and prevents it from spreading. However, with 1.
5-2 tons of oil leaking every hour, environmentalists are worried.
Oil patches have also been seen on the beach along the Mumbai coastline, sparking fears about whether another grounded ship, "MT Pavit", was already leaking oil. The "MT Pavit" was abandoned near Oman about a month ago after serious technical issues with its engines. It then drifted into the Arabian Sea and entered India's exclusive economic zone which extends 200 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast.
The report quoted an environmentalist as saying, "When the oil sinks, it enters into the food chain. The algae imbibe the oil and that may affect the entire marine ecology." Following the oil spill, fishermen have been advised to stay away from the area where the ship has sunk.