A serious oil spill in the Sunderbans in Bangladesh has been reported after an oil carrying vessel sank in the Shela river in the early hours of Tuesday.
Roughly 350, 000 litres of furnace oil have spilled from the Southern Star 7 oil tanker, after being hit from behind by an the empty cargo ship Total.
According to various sources the oil could have very well spread over a 50 km radius around where the tanker sank and thus contaminating a large portion of the Shela and Pashurr rivers.
Dhaka authorities have initiated an intensified campaign aimed at cleaning the waters from the oil spillage as it has quickly managed to spread through the many rivers and channels in and around the forest.
Forrest officials and environment protectors are greatly concerned due to the fact that as the oil spill spreads it will potentially destroy a large portion of the water’s wildlife, dolphins especially. According to experts the spill will definitely cause a massive ecological disaster in what is the biggest mangrove forest in the whole world.
Bodies of dead animals such as lizards and birds have been spotted by locals floating near the river banks. The area in which the accident took place is known to be a sanctuary for dolphins and a large number of other different and rare aquatic animals and fishes.
"All border camps have been notified to be on the lookout for any sign of spillage. This a very troublesome incident but so far there has been no consequences for the Indian side as the location of the spill is far from the Indian part of Sunderbans" said Pradeep Vyas, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Director, Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve.
The Sunderbans forest, which spreads around almost 26, 000 square kilometres in India and Bangladesh, is the home of the magnificent Royal Bengal Tigers. It is also under the protection of Unesco.