CHENNAI -- Visiting the site of the massive oil spill here, Tamil Nadu Chief Minsiter O. Panneerselvam on Sunday assured that the incident had not affected the marine life in any way and the fish could be consumed, adding that over 90 per cent of the spill had been cleared up.
Speaking to the media here after inspecting the site, the Chief Minister stated it was an "extraordinary situation" where the state government and the Centre were working in tandem to restore normalcy post the accident.
"More than 5,700 people took part in the clean-up endeavours, and all the operations will be completed in one-two days. Efforts are also being made to safeguard the fishermen's livelihood. Rest assured, we will also provide compensation to the fishermen affected by the spill," he said.
Paneerselvam further assured that the spill had not affected the Marine life in any way, and that the fish in the area was fit to be consumed.
"The sample of fish which was caught from this region was sent to various laboratories for testing. The result shows the fish are fit for consumption. There are no harmful elements in them. 90 percent of the spill has been cleared in Tiruvallur and 95 percent of the cleaning up is over in Kancheepuram and Chennai," he added.
Earlier, the Indian Coast Guard, the coordinating agency for removal of the oil sludge, had said there are no traces of oil spill inwards into the sea, though a few stretches of the coasts near Ennore Kamarajar Port remain blackened with the oil pollutants.
On 28 January, a large amount of oil spilled into the sea following the collision of two ships - MT Dawn Kancheepuram and MT Maple, near the port at Ennore, 30 km off Chennai.
The Kamarajar Port officials had initially declined of any such accidents. The spilled heavy furnace oil, however, later landed on the seashore of Ennore upto Thiruvanmiyur beach polluting a coastal line of about 24 km.
A massive clean up operation was then launched with more than 2,000 people as told to ANI by Union Shipping Minister Pon Radhakrishnan.
"The cleaning work is going on. The state and the centre are coordinating. And we will take another day or two to finish off the work," Radhakrishnan added.
It was assured that marine life of the sea will not be affected.
"Coast Guard is giving full support so that there is no loss to marine life," S Parmesh, IG, Coast Guard said.
It's estimated that over 20 tonne of oil had spilled into the Bay of Bengal, with 40 tonne of oil sludge and 27 tonne of oil mixture and water already removed.
Full-fledged clean up operations had begun only a day after the collision. The Coast Guard along with personnel from the state government, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Kamarajar Port and local fishermen were joined by hundreds of volunteering youth and college students in removing the oil slick manually and using dispersing agents.
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