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Oil spill off India’s western coast

An oil spill off India’s western coast has caused concern for environmentalists. The spill happened last week when a merchant ship, the MV Rak, sank off the Mumbai coast.

The Indian coastguard and pollution authorities are now in the middle of a clean up operation to remove the oil slick before it causes damage to the coastline.

All crew members from the ship were rescued before it sank with India’s Navy helping local coastguards.

A defence ministry release stated:

"Since Saturday night, oil has been observed leaking from the sunken vessel at an approximate rate of 1.5 to 2 tonnes per hour. The oil has spread to about seven nautical miles [eight miles] around the vessel,"

The spill had been described as minor and should no pose no threat to the country’s coastline. However, environmentalist Debi Goenka stated:

"It is quite close to the shoreline and there is not much distance separating the oil from the beaches and mangroves. Since this is the breeding season, this is the most vulnerable time of the year,"

The leak is the third such occurrence off the Indian coast in the last year. Just last January, 25,000 barrels of oils leaked from an oil and gas pipeline and last August two ships collided resulting in 500 tonnes of oil leaking into the Arabian Sea.

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