The Tasman Spirit has finally “broken up”:http://www.timespk.com/2003/august/15/top.htm. Predictably, the govt. said once again that the oil spill is not going to threaten the coastal areas. According to the BBC, 12,000 tons have already been spilled. By any standards, that is a huge diasaster, yet somehow the federal govt. keeps putting out statements like: _worst is over and there will be no more oil spill from the stranded oil tanker Tasman Spirit._
bq.. Maritime experts say 12,000 metric tons of oil have spilled into the Arabian Sea while another 35,000 are still on board the Greek-registered Tasman Spirit.
…IUCN – The World Conservation Union says 16 kilometres (10 miles) of the Arabian Sea coast has already been polluted.
The Tasman Spirit still has 35,000 tonnes of crude on board
>> “BBC News”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3153071.stm
p. The authorities are dancing all over the place now that the ship has sunk, but alas, the spill seems to be “far worse than what they’ve said about it”:http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=36012&SelectRegion=Central_Asia&SelectCountry=PAKISTAN. To put things into perspective, in the most famous oil spill of them all, the Exxon Valdez diasaster, “38,800 metric tonnes of oil was spilled”:http://www.oilspill.state.ak.us/facts/qanda.html. In Karachi, 12,000 tonnes have already been spilled and with 35,000 still on the ship this has the potential to be a major disaster.
In the Exxon Valdez spill, 38,000 tonnes coverd approximately 1,300 miles of shoreline. 12,000 tonnes by that math works out to be 412 miles of shoreline! Read more at the “Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council website”:http://www.oilspill.state.ak.us/. Despite spending 2.1 billion dollars cleaning up the spill, 14 years after the diasaster the “oil still lingers”:http://www.oilspill.state.ak.us/facts/lingeringoil.html.
The Pakistan govt. is now planning to “fine the Greek shipowner for polluting the Karachi harbour”:http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters08-15-064730.asp?reg=ASIA. That is all well and good, but in the end the blame lies with the govt. as it was a state run organization, the “Pakistan National Shipping Corporation”:http://www.pnsc.com.pk/, which leased this decript tanker in the first place. The EU and the US had both banned it from their waters, so the PNSC must have had known that this ship wasn’t exactly in the best of shape. The most ridiculous thing is that the Karachi Port Trust wants to fine the owners all of 173,100 dollars. This only just emphasizes the fact that these people seem to have no concept of the work, money and time involved in cleaning up a oil spill.
This being Pakistan, the accident seems to have been beacuse of pilot error compounded with the fact that the port authorities never bothered to dredge the channel, so a slight deviation from the center of the channel casued the Tasmin Spirit to run into a unmarked shallow patch. Carrying on with the best traditions of incompetence, they only attempted once to reloat the ship over the next 10 days with a single tug, despite the fact that 4 powerful ones were available at the port 10 minutes away. The former harbour master, Capt. Abdul Karim wrote a “good article explaining why the Tasman Spirit ran aground”:http://www.dawn.com/2003/08/14/nat28.htm.