The latest oil leakage from a Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) refinery pipeline appears to have damaged mangroves near Mahul along the east coast, with Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials saying that a visual inspection of the affected site indicates black slick unlike the light brown slick, which was seen after the crude oil spill in Uran on October 6. The Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), however, said primary inspection indicates that the destruction could have been due to the Uran oil leak.
“The oil spill from Uran was that of crude oil, which is light brown in colour. The slick observed now is black, indicating that the chemical is furnace oil, “ said MPCB assistant secretary (technical) P K Mirashe.
A leak from the pipeline transporting furnace oil from BPCL’s refinery to Jawahar Dweep was reported to MbPT on October 29, said Rajeev Gupta, chairman and managing director, MbPT.
“After a visual inspection, it appears the mangroves have suffered damage for a longer duration. This could be due to the ONGC leak that happened more than a month ago. During a recent inspection at Tata Jetty behind Pirpav, we learnt that even they have been facing the problem of oil slick for nearly two weeks,” said Gupta.
As per MPCB estimates, around 10 acres near Mahul as well as five-six kilometres into the sea were affected. The extent of spill is yet to be assessed.
Gupta said, “The leakage was probably caused by shifting of the pipeline at the point where it goes under the seabed. The resting beam supporting it has shifted six-eight inches, indicating stress on the pipeline. We have repaired the pipeline and increased the stress capacity from 10 kg pressure to 16 kg pressure. We are checking other pipelines that might have similarly shifted. We will also ask for an analysis of the spilled oil. We have appointed two agencies to clean up the slick.”