17 July, 2013

Oil spills from stricken tanker off Mukalla coast

For the last eight days or so, a stricken, old oil tanker - 'Champion 1' (reportedly Sierra Leonean registered) has been leaking a heavy, low quality fuel oil and several slicks were visible along the Mukalla, Hadhramout coast. The tanker is still stranded and adrift in the sea, just a short distance from Mukalla city. Reportedly, the small tanker was carrying about 4770 tonnes of mazut from Aden to Mukalla (as of writing this, I am not sure of how much the vessel was carrying and how much was spilt). Reportedly - as it entered the coast of Mukalla, the sea was rough and it hit some rocks, lost control and then started spilling oil. The vessel is also said to be old and not that fit, now, for carrying oil.

Efforts have been underway to try to tow the ship out into the sea. Central and local government officials and environmental experts have been trying hard to contain the spill - which reportedly extends for about 25 kilometers along the coast of Mukalla. Local volunteers are also trying hard in helping to clean some parts of the beaches. But with very limited resources, the oil spill has and is already causing extensive damage along the coast and to marine life. The extent of the damage to marine life is being assessed and will only be known later; it is always sad and heart-wrenching to see or learn about oil spills and the very bad effects they have on marine environment and life. The many young people who liked to swim and play along the beaches of Mukalla, will not be able to do so, now, for some times. As for the many fishermen and fish vendors/mongers - there livelihoods will be very much affected for a while. And most likely, fish prices will rise, now, in Mukalla.

+ Mukalla Today
+ Mukalla Star
+ How does oil impact marine life?
+ Oil Spills Fast Facts