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US firm begins work to pump oil from sunken ship


Bhubaneswar : Experts of a US firm assigned to pump out furnace oil from a ship that sank last month off Paradip harbour in Orissa began work Monday. Their task is expected to be completed in a month, a port official said.

“A team of experts of the US firm arrived here Sunday. They inspected the site and started preliminary work today (Monday),” port Deputy Chairman Biplav Kumar told IANS.

The vessel under a Mongolian flag, carrying about 25,000 tonnes of iron ore fines and 975 tonnes of furnace oil, capsized in the Bay of Bengal, five km off the Paradip coast Sep 9 in Jagatsinghpur district, some 100 km from here.

Twenty-seven crew members were on board. All but a Ukrainian engineer, whose body was recovered 10 days later, were rescued.

The work to remove furnace oil has been assigned to Florida-based Resolve Marine Group.

“At least six experts of the Resolve Marine Group have arrived. More are on their way to the port,” Kumar said, adding that work would start full swing Tuesday and was expected to be completed in a month.

The port authorities said that small quantities of oil have started oozing out of the ship since Sep 21. They maintained that 900 tonnes of the oil are inside a double-bottom tank fully secured.

The accident spot is close to the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, one of the world’s few remaining nesting sites for the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles.

The port has engaged Visakhapatnam-based J Enterprises and Dives to plug air vents, sounding pipes and other holes to ensure that there is no oil leakage from the ship.