Hired boats start collecting spilled oil

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The forest department today started collecting the furnace oil spilled from a tanker which sank at a river in the Sundarbans after being hit by a cargo vessel in Mongla upazila of Bagerhat. Four days into the capsize, the authorities engaged 100 hired boats (both mechanised and local) to remove spilled furnace oil from adjoining canals of two rivers — Shela and Pashur — of the reserve forest, a Unesco natural heritage site. At least 200 workers are hired to collect the oil using local equipments, reports our correspondent visiting the area. “The oil collection will continue until further notice,” said Abul Kalam Azad, an officer of Chandpai forest range. Meanwhile, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan is expected to visit the accident spot today. The slick started on Tuesday morning, after Southern Star-7, carrying 3.58 lakh litres of furnace oil and eight crew members sank near Mongla around 5:00am. It went down after being hit by a cargo vessel from behind. Seven crews managed to swim ashore. Four compartments out of six were damaged in the accident, said officials after the salvage of the tanker. Advertisement The authorities earlier had asked locals to collect the furnace oil and sell it to the Padma Oil Company agents. People have been advised to use fishing nets, sponges or any other manual means to collect the oil. Experts and officials from a joint meeting in Dhaka yesterday suggested not using any chemical for the oil spill clean-up in the two rivers of the Sundarbans. Also yesterday, the shipping minister told the BBC Bangla that a London-based team officered its assistance for the clean-up. The ministry of environment and forest, meanwhile, decided to examine the water of the Shela collecting samples from 15 points every day. Oil spill from the sunken tanker in the Sundarbans has affected seven young saltwater crocodiles at Karamjal Wildlife Reproduction Centre. Quoting Pradeep Vyas, additional director of India’s Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, Reuters on Friday reported that the authorities on India’s eastern coast are on alert after a tanker sank into the waters of the Sundarbans tidal mangrove forests.

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