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1. Introduction
What is Oil Spill Causes of Oil Spill Appearance Oil Spills Effects of Oil Spill

2. Oil Spills in Mumbai 2010

About a Disaster Cause of the Accident Ecological Impact Salvage Operation Effect on Environment Toxic Effects Of Crude Oil Constituents in Water Loss due to Oil Spill

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What is an Oil Spill?

It is a mass of floating oil covering an area of water, especially oil that has leaked or discharged from a ship or liquid petroleum hydrocarbon from an oil tanker, Commonly referred to as marine oil spills and a form of pollution, they include releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells, as well as spills of refined petroleum products gasoline and diesel-and heavier fuels used by large ships, such as bunker fuel, or the spill of any oily refuse or waste oil.

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Causes of Oil Spill

Oil spills are hazardous to the environment and can be dangerous or deadly to affected people and animals. There are a number of factors which can lead to oil spills, and many occur during the transport of oil across waterways such as oceans. Oil is commonly transported by barges, tankers, pipelines, and trucks, each of which has its own imperfections that can lead to an oil accident. Tankers and barges can crash or run into unexpected land that causes a crack or hole which allows oil to escape. Likewise, pipelines which transport oil underground can develop leaks or cracks that allow oil to seep into the environment. Oil shipping trucks can also instigate an oil spill in the event of an accident. Some oil can escape while it is being moved from one vessel to another, a process called lightering. Uncontrollable factors such as hurricanes and other violent weather can cause tankers or barges to wreck or can damage offshore drilling facilities, incidents that can lead to oil spills. Oil spills can occur during other phases of production, such as when oil is being extracted from an oil well or being converted into other products at a refinery. Human mistakes as well as equipment failure are common causes of accidents in such situations. Sometimes oil is even spilled intentionally as an act of war or vandalism. Illegal dumping of oil is another deliberate act that causes harm to the environment. Since importing and exporting oil is a major mechanism of world trade, oil spills often happen in the ocean during long international commutes. The degree of effort involved in cleaning up an oil spill depends on the quantity of oil that is spilled, the type of oil, the cooperation of the weather in cleanup efforts as well as the location of the spill. Lighter oils, such as gasoline, have a tendency to evaporate into the air and are therefore generally easier to clean up. A spill in the ocean is often relatively easier to clean up than a spill in a smaller lake, though cleaning any spill is a complicated undertaking.
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When oil is spilled into the ocean, the movement of the waves causes some of the oil to emulsify in the water. Some of the mixture sinks to the bottom of the ocean where it sticks to rocks and sand. Some of the spilled oil is consumed by microorganisms in the water, and some is broken down by the sun. Still, some of the spilled oil is transported by the current onto land, affecting the sand, rocks, grass and trees. Oil spill prevention and cleanup procedures are monitored by organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Coast Guard. Such organizations enact policies aimed at preventing spills, training for oil clean up and making companies accountable for accidents.


When spilled at sea, oil forms a slick which drifts with the wind and current, and subsequently breaks up into smaller slicks (patches), usually interspersed with the areas of relatively thin sheen, and scatters over areas which, with time, become very large. With a change in wind direction oil already deposited on shores might refloat. After being at sea for some time most crude oils and heavy refined products will form a water-in-oil emulsion (chocolate mousse) which increases their volume and viscosity and changes their colour. Oil or emulsion can also become mixed with algae and debris. Three main groups of oil can be distinguished in accordance with their appearance when floating on the sea surface: Light refined products (petrol, gasoil, kerosene) which spread uniformly on big surfaces and undergo strong evaporation and rapid natural dispersion processes, often resulting in their total disappearance in 2 to 3 days. They form thin sheens. Heavy refined products (fuel No. 6 and most types of fuel oils used by merchant ships) which are very viscous spread less rapidly and do not
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disappear naturally. These form dark thicker patches, separated by areas of intermediate and thin sheens. May form emulsions. Crude oils whose characteristics and behaviour vary greatly according to their type and origin. Usually these rapidly break into areas of dark, thicker oil interspersed with areas of intermediate and thin sheens. Most crude oils will form emulsions within 24 48 hours. In general terms, the thick parts of an oil slick have dull (dark) colours, the colour of patches of intermediate thickness is blue or iridescent (rainbow), and the thinnest parts of a slick appear as areas of grey or silvery sheen. Sheen consists of only small quantities of oil but is the most visible proof of pollution. Frequently, thick patches are discovered in the midst and windward of an area covered by sheen (silver, grey or iridescent). Thick patches represent big quantities of oil. Generally, black or dark brown at the early stages of pollution, but once emulsified may appear as brown, red, orange or yellow patches. TABLE 1 gives an indication of relations between the appearance (colour) of an oil slick, approximate thickness of oil and the approximate volume of oil (in cubic meters) the slick contains per unit of surface area (square kilometers).

TABLE 1: APPEARANCE/ THICKNESS/ VOLUME OF OIL ON THE SEA SURFACE. APPEARANCE/ COLOUR silvery sheen grey sheen iridescent (rainbow) sheen Blue blue/brown brown/black dark brown/black brown/red/orange/yellow mousse APPROX. THICKNESS (m) 0.02-0.05 0.1 0.3 1.0 5.0 15-25 >100 >1mm APPROX. VOLUME (m3/km2) 0 0.1 0.3 1 5 15-25 >100

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Effects of Oil Spill

Overall, the effects of an oil spill depend on a variety of factors, including the weather and other environmental conditions, the composition of the oil and how close it gets to shore. But here are some ways an oil spill can impact marine life, including seabirds and sea turtles.

Effect On Fish When oil stops floating on the surface, it starts to sink into the sea. It reduces the oxygen content in the water and can kill or contaminate fish and smaller organisms important to the underwater ecosystem. An oil spill can also take a toll if large numbers of fish eggs or larvae are exposed to it.

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Effects On Marine Mammals When mammals such as whales and dolphins swallow oil, it can clog their lungs and make it difficult for them to breathe. It also disrupts their ability to communicate. Marine mammals could die of poisoning because they could eat fish exposed to the oil. Effects On Birds Birds that swim and dive for food can get their feathers coasted with oil, making it difficult for them to fly. It also destroys their waterproofing and insulation, thus exposing them to overheating. If they swallow the oil, it damages their internal organs and could lead to death. Oil spills can also disrupt migratory patterns by contaminating areas where migrating birds normally stop. For instance, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 at Alaska killed 250,000 to 500,000 sea birds. Effects On Coastal Marshes, Mangroves, Wetlands The plants absorb the oil which chokes their roots and damages the fragile eco-system. Spill can affect nesting and breeding cycles as well as seasonal migrations of various species.

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Oil Spills in Mumbai

About a Disaster
The Mumbai oil spill occurred after the Panama-flagged MV MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia 3 collided off the coast of India near Mumbai on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at around 9:50 A.M local time. MSC Chitra, which was outbound from South Mumbai's Nava Sheva port, collided with the inbound Khalijia-III, which caused about 200 cargo containers from MSC Chitra to be thrown into the Arabian Sea. Khalijia-III was apparently involved with another mishap on 18 July 2010.

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Cause of the Accident

Preliminary investigations suggest that the accident occurred as a result of communication errors. An inquiry is being conducted by the Directorate General of Shipping and a report is expected to be tabled in a month. The captains of the two ships have blamed each other for the mishap. Captain Laxman Dubey of the Khalija-III alleged that he attempted to establish radio contact with the MSC Chitra thrice but received no response. Captain M Ranjit Martin, who was at the helm of the Chitra, said that it was negligence on the part of Captain Dubey that led to the accident. He claimed that the Khalija-III was not in a good condition after being grounded by Mumbai port authorities earlier in July. The vessel had been moving into the port when it collided with the Chitra. The Geneva headquartered Mediterranean Shipping Company, which owns the Chitra, has stood by its captain on the issue.

Ecological Impact
The impact is already being felt along the Mumbai coastline, with fish and other marine creatures being found covered with oil. The oil slick has entered the sensitive mangrove belt and is likely to damage the environment there. The shores along the green mangroves are coated with slick black oil. Containers of pesticide are also thought to have spilled over and this is causing alarm to environmentalists. The government had banned fishing in the region soon after the collision occurred. The state fisheries department is carrying out random sampling at various locations throughout the city. The state government has appointed the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute and Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography to assess the environmental impact of the accident.

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The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) has volunteered to clean up the oil spill with its indigenously developed and patented formula of bacteria called as 'Oil Zapper.' The process uses bacteria to clean-up the oil slick. This might help do away with the effects of the spill.

Salvage Operation
SMIT Salvage is continuing with operations to clear the containers from the channel. It has cleared about 60 containers from the sea. The cleanup operation will be tedious and time consuming as it takes many hours to lift a container by employing metal ropes and a crane. A floating crane and two tugs have been employed to tow and pick up containers drifting in the channel. SMIT is also pumping out the remaining fuel from the MSC Chitra to avoid any further spill. Attempts to straighten the ship, which is dangerously tilted, failed because of the weather conditions. The Chitra is tilted at an angle of about 75 degrees. Shipping officials estimate that clearing the ill-fated ship could take a few months.

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Effect on Environment
The situation is chilling. A snake which came in from the sea was covered in oil and chemicals and was struggling. Neither could it go back into the sea as it is filled with oil, nor could it remain in the open in the baking sun. The oil spill has turned deadly. And its not just this one snake. Fishermen claim that their fishing nets in the sea are all covered with oil. No one is willing to buy such fish. The marine life here is contaminated. This has been confirmed by initial reports carried out by the state government. The oil slick has even entered the sensitive mangrove belt. While the government is working towards a swift clean up, environmentalists fear it may be too late. Environmentalists worry that the oil slick will enter the mangroves and mudflats and once that happens nothing can be done to clean it up. Moreover he believes that India has the technology or the intent. The Environment Minister Thiru Jairam Ramesh claims that removing the entire oil from the sea will take 45 days. Comprehensive detailed investigation on damage on mangrove forest will be done by Maharashtra Pollution Board. And while the leak may have been plugged, going by the extent to which the slick has spread, it will be a while before the villagers can return to the seas for their livelihood. As the crisis related to the oil spill off Mumbai coast becomes bigger, its business as usual in the metropolis. Even as mangroves turn black due to the oil slick and toxic chemical bottles get washed ashore, at the Mumbai docks fish continues to be brought in and hundreds of fishermen continue to go out to sea.

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Over 31 containers with hazardous chemicals are still missing and need to be found. Debris can still be seen floating in the waters. The water around the damaged MSC Chitra is clear but that is because the ship is in deep sea and the debris is getting washed ashore. But the fishermen claim there is no need to panic. They are worried people will stop eating fish, affecting their business in turn. The crisis related to the oil spill off Mumbai coast becomes bigger. Even as mangroves turn black due to the oil slick and toxic chemical bottles get washed ashore, at the Mumbai docks fish continues to be brought in and hundreds of fishermen continue to go out to sea. Over 31 containers with hazardous chemicals are still missing and need to be found. Debris can still be seen floating in the waters. The water around the damaged MSC Chitra is clear but that is because the ship is in deep sea and the debris is getting washed ashore. But the fishermen claim there is no need to panic. They are worried people will stop eating fish, affecting their business in turn. They claim that there is no connection between the oil spill and fish. Despite the warnings of the state government and Environment Ministry for the fisherman of Mumbai it is business as usual. They insist there is nothing wrong. For them it is just another day.

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There are several compounds or classes of compounds originating from crude oil possessing toxic properties. The most important and well-known among them and their potential health aspects are described briefly below: 1. Mineral Oil: This constitutes a class of several sparingly soluble (in water) aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons of petroleum origin. While some individual compounds from this group may be acutely toxic, a great majority are comparatively harmless. Because of this vast difference in the toxic properties it has been reported as difficult to establish a numerical criterion which would be applicable to all types of oils. Extensive research had shown that tolerance limits of these products to human health far exceed the odour and taste thresholds if they are present in water. In other words, humans tend to refuse to drink water containing mineral oils due to smell and odour reasons at much lower concentrations than toxic threshold levels. World Health Organization (WHO) had set a maximum permissible limit (MPL) of 0.3 mg/L of mineral oil in drinking water in their 1976 standards, but later in I984 this limit was removed. However, API continues to impose an MPL of 0.3 mg/L in the drinking water. 2. Benzene: This compound is known to be carcinogenic. Children and adults, drinking water containing more than l00ug/L for a life time, are at an increased cancer risk.API has not set any maximum permissible limit for this compound in drinking water. However, WHO suggested a guideline value of l0ug/L in 1984. 3. Toluene :

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This is a constituent of crude oil having a significant solubility in water (515 mg/L). It is less toxic than benzene. A daily consumption of upto 700 ug/L through drinking water is considered to be safe for adults. API did not set any safe limit for this compound, however, WHO proposed a guideline value of 1000 ug/L in drinking water. 4. Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons CPAH): This is a class of more than 20 organic compounds, some of which are known to be extremely toxic to human health. These compounds have very limited solubility in water but can continuously leach into water from crude oil tar balls over extended period of time. Many PAHs are shown to be mutagenic in bacterial systems and produce skin tumors in some test animals. It has also been presumed that some occupation-associated skin cancers observed in man is due to exposure to some of the PAHs. EPA has set a MPL of 0.2ug/L for these compounds in drinking water. W.H.O. has set a limit of 0.01ug/L for benzo [a] pyrene, one of the wellstudied compounds among PAHs, mainly due to the fact that this compound is associated in water with other PAHs of known carcinogenicity. 5. Phenolic Compounds: Many phenolic compounds are known to be present in petroleum crude. They are mostly non-toxic in trace concentrations. But some chlorophenols, produced as a result of chlorination, are reported to be toxic if consumed in small concentrations in drinking water. For example, 2,4,6 - trichlorophenol is a chemical carcinogen that might increase the cancer rate in man if present in sufficient quantities. EPA has set an M.P.L. of 2ug/L for phenolic compounds in drinking water. Many phenols can be detected by their taste and odor at concentrations far below1ug/L. 6. Chloroform and Total Trihalomethanes : These compounds do not primarily originate from crude oil but could be formed in water on chlorination as a result of reaction between chlorine and
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some crude oil constituents. Chloroform and some other halogenated compounds, included in the class of total trihalomethanes, and are known to have carcinogenic property. EPA has limited the maximum permissible limit for chloroform and total trihalomethanes in drinking water at 30 and 250ug/L, respectively. 7. Phthalate Esters : Esters of phthalic acid are reported to be a class of contaminants usually found in water originating from wide industrial use of plastic based materials. Though scanty data is available on the toxicity of phthalates in humans this class of compounds have been included in US EPAs priority pollutants list for drinking water. A concentration of 0.1 mmol per Kg body weight per day has been suggested as a threshold value for all phthalates. Major findings of the studies are summarized below: (a) Mineral Oil: Fig. 1 indicates the variation of mineral oil contents in sea water and product water samples during the reported period. While the majority of the samples indicated a mineral oil concentration of close to zero (below detection limit), a few of them had concentrations ranging from 0.02 - 0.1 mg/L.Several samples immediately collected from all intakes and near the mouth of the intake bay did not show a repetition of the results, but one sample collected close to a navy boat anchored in the lagoon showed high levels of both mineral oil and phthalate esters. It was obvious that the source of this contamination was some spillage from the boat. It is known that some lighter fractions of crude oil such as hydrocarbons sparingly dissolve in water. Hydrocarbons with the smallest carbon numbers and their derivatives dissolve the most while those of higher molecular weights dissolve the least. But the low molecular weight: compounds are the most volatile hence their disappearance from the sea water under the turbulent conditions is quite rapid. It may be seen from that mineral oil concentration in product water were less than 0.03 mg/L in all samples but two. That this was true even
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during the worst period of the crisis prove that the precautionary measures taken by various pollution control agencies were quite effective. However, one point of concern is the occurrence of traces of mineral oil in the product water when the same is present in sea water. This may indicate that MSF process is not capable to completely remove the organic contaminants present in sea water. It is difficult to make a quantitative assessment of this problem from the current data, and will require a separate and detailed study most effectively by using pilot plant, since most of the physico-chemical parameters governing an MSF process cannot be duplicated in laboratory scale experimental set up. (b) Polvnuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons : This class of compounds were specifically monitored using selected ion monitoring (SIM) technique due to their known toxicity and the stringent regulatory control imposed by EPA (MPL = 0.2ug/L) in drinking water. (c) Benzene and Toluene : Both benzene and toluene have considerable solubility in water, 1780 and 515 mg/L respectively, and both are present in crude oil in significant quantities. Benzene was detected in sea water twice during this period but it did not appear in the product water However, toluene appeared more frequently in sea water samples at concentrations ranging from 00.6ug/LToluene was detected four times in product water as well, the maximum concentration being 0.34ug/L. Though EPA did not impose a maximum permissible limit for both these compounds in drinking water, WHO (1984) had set a limit of l0ug/L for benzene, which is more toxic of the two. Once dissolved, toluene remains in water for longer periods than benzene, since the former has higher boiling point. Frequent appearance of toluene in sea water samples is consistent with this assumption.

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(d) Phenolic Compounds : No phenolic compounds were detected during this period with any consistency. Once when the Mumbai Oil Spill intake sea water was suspected to be contaminated by spillage of diesel oil from Navy boat phenol appeared in small traces in product water ( <0.3mg/L). On another occasion on September-10, phenol was detected simultaneously in sea water and product water samples from Elephanta cave at concentrations of 0.31 and 0.l2mg/L, respectively which are significantly lower than the SASO limit of 2mg/L. No phenolic compounds were detected in Mumbai Oil samples during this period. (e) Chloroform and Total trihalomethanes: Water when disinfected by chlorination is known to contain several organic By-products, some of them known to be toxic to human health. They are normally produced by reaction between chlorine and traces of naturally occurring organic compounds of humic and fulvic origin. Halogenated methanes, popularly called trihalomethanes (THMs) are most dominant among the chlorination by-products. It is also probable that some low molecular weight hydrocarbons or their derivatives present in crude oil might react with chlorine when oil-polluted water is disinfected resulting in increased levels of trihalomethanes or other nalogenated hydrocarbons. Therefore concentrations of trihalomethanes in general and chloroform in particular were monitored both in sea water and product water samples continuously during this period. Our previous determinations of

trihalomethanes in chlorinated seawater in Arabian Gulf yielded an average concentration of about 30ug/L THMs. Fig.5 indicates much higher values during August to September and slightly more than the previous average during September-October in Arabian Sea water samples. This might be indicative of the presence of low molecular weight hydrocarbons originating from oil spills. The THM concentrations were always lower than the
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detection limit (<5ug/L) in the chlorinated product water. It shows the distribution of chloroform in chlorinated sea water and product water in Arabian Sea. Until Sept. 2010, chloroform concentrations were very frequently higher than the detection limit of 0.lug/L in seawatwer, in keeping with the general trend of THM distribution. THM concentrations both in chlorinated seawater and product water from Arabian Sea were generally slightly higher than found in Elephanta samples .This is consistent with the results of our earlier studies in the plant before the Gulf crisis. However, the concentrations in product water samples were always considerably less than the API limits. Chloroform concentrations remained below the detection limit of 0.lug/L except once in a sea water sample. The study shows that though there was some increase in the levels of both THM and chloroform in sea water during the crisis period, the actual concentration never exceeded their permissible levels as per drinking water standards. In product water their concentrations remained below detection limits in all samples from Elepahnta caves and most of the samples from Mumbai Oil Spill. (f) Total Organic Carbon (TOC): Variation of total organic carbon concentrations in sea water and product water samples from Mumbai Oil Spill. Though TOC concentration by itself is not an indication of the level of toxicity in water samples, any increase in its concentration above the normal level could be indicative of organic pollution. TOC concentrations, as seen from the average value remained close to 1.5-2 mg/L range which is the average level in Arabian sea water as found in our earlier studies. Sudden changes observed in day-to-day values may be due to changes in tidal conditions. (g) Phthalate Esters: This is a group of a large number of compounds, some of which are widely use in plastic and other industries as plasticizers. A few of them were reported to be found in trace concentrations in drinking water from natural as
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well as desalination sources. They were assumed to be leached into water from plastic piping and plumbing materials. They are not known to be highly toxic; their tolerance limits reported to vary from 15-350 mg/L in drinking water depending on individual compounds. A wide variety of phthalate esters were detected in contaminated sea water samples collected from the proximity of the navy boat anchored in the Mumbai Oil Spill intake lagoon. All of them have very high boiling points (greater than 220oC). But surprisingly, trace amounts of several of these esters were detected in the product water samples as well when the intake sea water was contaminated by spills from the navy boats. Though the total concentrations of all these esters detected in product water were always very low (below toxic levels) it is surprising how such high boiling point organics in sea water were carried into the distillates. The Center is currently investigating this problem using laboratory scale experimental set up. However, scaled-up studies on a pilot plant will be essential to fully elucidate this phenomenon as the physico-chemical parameters governing the MSF process cannot be duplicated on laboratory scale set up.

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Loss due to spill

Four billion dollar of trade will be lost if the oil spill off the Mumbai coast is not dealt with by the weekend. The situation has already prompted exporters and importers to ask the government for financial relief,. The recent oil spill off the Mumbai coast has disrupted cargo traffic at JNPT and Mumbai port. And if the situation is not addressed by the end of the week (15th august 2010), the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) estimates that USD 4 billion of trade cargo will be lost. After all, these two ports handle 60% of Indias container traffic. The FIEO says that losses are mounting with each day of delay. It pegs losses to Indian importers and exporters at USD 20 million by the end of the week. The Federation is now asking the government to help contain these financial losses by waiving demurrage, detention and other charges which arise from suspension of operations at the ports. Oil companies, meanwhile, are putting on a brave face, for now. They say that fuel production at their Mumbai plants are normal, and add that the port disruption will not mean a shortage of supplies, for the time being. ONGC is also working to compensate for the blocked ports by diverting crude to its two facilities through pipeline. This measure, it says, will ensure supplies are not impaired. Officials at oil marketing companies IOC, BPCL and HPCL agree, saying they have enough inventories to survive this crisis. The Maharashtra government is going all out to assure the people that port activities will resume as soon as possible. But experts point out that if port operations remain suspended past the 15th of august, Mumbai could run out of fuel.

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