20th Aug, 2019
Chilika faces oil spillage threat from stuck ship.
- The Indian Coast Guard has issued a warning about possible oil spillage into the ecologically sensitive Chilika lake — the largest brackish water lagoon in the country — from a Malaysian cargo vessel which is stuck in the Bay of Bengal near the lake.
- The barge contains 30,000 litres of diesel, 1,000 litre of lube oil and 200 litres of hydraulic oil. Hence spillage of oil from the aground vessel cannot be ruled out
- Under Section356 of Indian Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, all necessary measures should be undertaken to prevent any leakage of oil from the vessel causing pollution to the area
- The Coast Guard also advised to undertake action on priority basis either through a local agent or any professional salvor.
- The vessel — Jin Hwa 32 — with deadweight tonnage of 7,500 had sailed from Mongla Port was heading towards Visakhapatnam Port. It was caught in stormy waters and drifted towards Odisha.
About Chilika Lake
- Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
- It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest coastal lagoon in the world.
- It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent. The lake is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals. Chilika Lake is an important habitat and breeding ground for both resident and migratory and aquatic birds, most notably flamingos.
- The Nalaban Island within the lagoon is classified as a Bird Sanctuary under the wildlife protection act.
- In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
- The lagoon is also home to 14 types of raptors. Around 152 rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins have also been reported. Plus, the lagoon supports about 37 species of reptiles and amphibians.
- Microalgae, marine seaweeds, sea grasses, fish and crab also flourish in the brackish water of the Chilika Lagoon.