As oil patches from the Panama-registered MV Ocean Seraya which broke into two
after hitting a rock during a recent storm system began washing up on the
popular tourist beaches in Goa, environmentalists warned of larger dangers of
an oil slick. Ocean Seraya ran aground around 5 kilometers off the coast of
Greenpeace spokesman Ramapati Kumar warned of an oil slick 9-km-wide is
spreading northwards towards Goa pushed by strong winds and choppy seas because
of the annual south-west monsoon rains. He accused the Government of inaction.
Kumar said that “Nothing has been done” as the slick has “impacted marine life
because usually the worst happens in the first two days.”
Officials dismissed these accusations and played down the risk to wildlife or
the beaches. But environmentalists insist that a serious threat remained as not
all of the ship’s 690 tons of fuel had been pumped out and it is probable that
as much as half may have already spilled from the ship.
Coast guard official K.B.L. Bhatnagar, seemed to agree saying that “The slick
has been neutralized as of now, but a threat remains because the ship’s fuel
tanks are still inaccessible.” However, he said that the slick is not very
The Government has contracted a Singapore-based company with expertise in
cleaning up oil spills and has employed 100 people to clean-up including
spraying dispersants, cleaning beaches, and on removing the remaining oil from
the sinking ship.