Bangladesh oil spill threatens tiger and dolphin sanctuary
15 December 2014
On December 11 a tanker carrying 360,000 litres of oil was involved in a collision off the Sundarbans conservation area in south Bangladesh - a heavily protected UNESCO World Heritage site and home to a number of critically endangered species, including the Royal Bengal tiger and the Irrawaddy dolphin.
The tanker had been bringing fuel to a power plant in nearby Gopalganj when it was struck by an unidentified vessel. It has since been salvaged, and the rescuers have confirmed that four of its six tanks were breached in the collision and leaked their contents over a 30-hour period.
Rafiqul Islam, a Bangladeshi shipping ministry spokesman, told Agence France Presse that tens of thousands of gallons had escaped into the sea, seriously threatening the wildlife in the conservation area.
According to Bangladeshi news site bdnews24.com, locals are being employed to recover the oil and are being paid 30 Bangladeshi Taka ($0,39) per litre by the company that owned the tanker.
Seven members of the tanker's crew have been found, but the captain is still missing. The Bangladeshi authorities have filed a lawsuit against the owners of both vessels.
Meanwhile, India's eastern coastal authorities have said they are on high alert in case winds blow the slick into their waters.