Thane (Maharashtra), July 19: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Saturday rushed to help in checking a massive leak in a HPCL oil pipeline in Thane, an official said here. This is for the second time in two days that the Coast Guard has been called for help in an on-shore crisis. An ICG helicopter carried out sorties to detect if any high speed diesel had been spilled into the eco-sensitive Taloja Creek in Raigad district.
On Friday, the ICG had helped evacuate around a dozen firemen trapped in a Mumbai building which had caught fire. The ICG is the offshore maritime police, but on rare occasions or emergencies like these, it steps onshore to help the authorities on land, the official said.
On Saturday, officials said they feared that some quantity of the over 50 tonnes of oil may have mixed with rainwater and flowed into the creek. This, in turn, has raised apprehensions of a possible oil slick in the sea water which has mangroves and a variety of marine life.
“We have also started retrieving oil with the help of the HPCL officials and so far recovered around 10 tonnes from the spillage,” an official told IANS, requesting not to be identified. Besides the ICG, the HPCL has sought help from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to help contain the crisis arising out of a leak in the pipeline near Kamothe late Thursday. Though the oil spilled from the pipeline has already traversed some surrounding areas, officials are trying to detect and seal the leakage – the cause of which is not yet clear.
On its part, HPCL assured that urgent measures have been initiated to ensure safety at the oil leak site and minimize damage to the environment. It added that it was sucking out the spilled oil from the drain with machines and special skimmers, besides placing absorbents to prevent the oil flow and the oil-water mix spreading. Teams of HPCL technical experts, disaster management, pollution, police, fire brigade and medicos are at the site monitoring the crisis, the official said.