CHENNAI: Even as the oil spill has reached the famed heritage and tourist destination, Mamallapuram, the Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has revealed that it was asked to provide models predicting the trajectory of the drift for a mere 12 tonnes of leak.
INCOIS director Satish Shenoi said any such model was dependent on the information about the quantum of oil leaked into the sea. While MT dawn Kancheepuram maintained that the leak was around 1.2 to 2 tonnes, Indian Coast Guard has maintained that it could be anywhere around 20 tonnes.
According to Shenoi, the quantum of the oil spill could be ascertained using remote sensing satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). But then, scientists were not sure whether the satellite passed the area when the collision took place at Kamarajar Port’s shipping channel.
During major spills, SAR data from different satellites give an overview of the areas affected and provide information on the direction in which surface oil is drifting. SAR is also used to monitor illegal discharges from ship traffic or offshore operations. In many areas, this has helped to reduce oil pollution.
Now, INCOIS has stopped providing the data on oil spill after being informed by Coast Guard that the spill along two nautical miles has been cleared for it.
However, Shenoi said the exact nature of oil spill could have been derived by going through the log books of the ship. But, till now no one knows the quantum of the leak as the spill has reached Mamallapuram.
What is surprising is that more than 2,700 litres of oil spill depressant has been used but oil is still getting washed ashore, while the agencies involved in cleaning up have hung the boots.