'Sunken dredger poses no threat to marine ecology'

There is no threat to marine ecology from the sunken dredger ‘Tridevi Prem’, New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) Chairman A V Ramana said on Friday.

Ramana, sharing the reports dispatched by Indian Coast Guard (ICG) at 10.10 am, with reporters on the Port premises said that there was no sign of oil spill at the site where the dredger had sunk. “When the 150 metre-long dredger sank on Monday, about two nautical miles from the coast, NMPT had made efforts to remove the low sulphur high speed diesel (HSD) from the dredger resting on the sea bed. But the plans had to be abandoned due to inclement weather,” the chairman explained.

Environmental expert from Ministry of Shipping Dr R D Tripathi said the HSD, a non-persistent oil, is no threat to ecology, environment, beach and fisheries.

The tanks with three to four kilo litres of HSD were closed tightly. Ramana, elaborating on the initiatives to detect any oil spill, said the aerial survey by ICG and satellite images from Hyderabad-based INCOIS had revealed that there was no trace of oil in the surrounding waters. Analytical reports of samples submitted by the laboratories at NITK and at MRPL also confirmed that there was no trace of oil, he added.

Ramana said that, as preventive step, NMPT had deployed pollution response vessels and three additional vessels with accessories from Monday. Two layers of ‘oil containment booms’ were also laid.

“A buoy, which is visible at night, was laid where the dredger sank. Warnings were relayed with VHF radio. The dredger’s owner, Mercator, Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) in Mumbai, Fisheries Department, Karwar port, director general of shipping and Hydrography Survey of India in Dehradun, among others, were informed about the sinking of the dredger,” the chairman said.

Later, media persons were taken in two tug boats, Ocean Harmony and Ocean Esteem, close to the site where the dredger had sunk.

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