Setusamudram channel, an ecological disaster

Setusamudram channel, an ecological disaster

Executive summary

It is the responsibility of the samajam and the state to preserve and protect the marine bio-diversity of the Gulf of Mannar-Palkbay Indian ocean waters and to care for the livelihood of marine people living by using aquatic resources of the ocean.

The total potential for export earnings alone of marine products is a staggering Rs. 40,000 crores per annum (with Rs. 10000 crores contributed by Tamilnadu coastal people). It will be a travesty of justice to devastate the livelihood of these marine people, for an uncertain revenue of Rs. 200 crores per annum of a navigational channel passage.

The Setu channel may provide for navigation with serious navigation hazards resulting in an ecological disaster, but will also kill the marine products economy of the Gulf of Mannar.

The key question to ask about sustainability of the project is: who benefits from the project?

The mid-ocean Setu channel is proposed to cut through Rama Setu.

While evaluating sustainability of the project, the imperative of biodiversity conservation and livelihood security of the marine people needs to be recognized.

Rama Setu contributes to the bio-richness of the region.

Rama Setu separates two different marine systems – the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay – making them almost completely secluded and almost isolated, akin to huge lagoons, existing side by side. 

The region is unique in another sense that Rama Setu has also been blocking the shipping activity in the region, and therefore the local marine life has been mostly untouched from the polluting events like oil spills.

Opening up a channel (without provision of locks) cutting through the Rama Setu will allow for the turbulent waters of Bay of Bengal to rush into the serene waters of the Gulf of Mannar.

The region is the natural habitat of over 3,200 species of plants and animals, including 377 species which are endemic here, and thus, is among the biologically richest marine zones of the world. 

“When you depart from Seilan (as Sri Lanka was known to the Europeans back then), and go westwards about sixty miles, you come to the extensive province of Maabar, on the mainland called India the Great, and which is indeed the noblest and richest country in the whole world. The largest and finest of pearls, best in the world, are found in this gulf between this continent and the island of Seilan”. – From the travelogue of Marco Polo written around 1276 CE.

The trade of pearls from here to the Roman Empire has been reported from as early as the first century CE.  Catholic evangelist Francis Xavier has also provided extensively detailed accounts of the pearl and conch gathering activities of this region when he lived amidst the fishing community of Sethusamudram in the 16th century.

For many centuries, just like the Saligrama stones coming from the Gandak river-beds of Nepal, Shankha conches coming from these seas have been an integral part of the Indic culture.  Even in the excavated finds from the ancient Saraswati civilization sites, the traditional continuity of the importance of Shankha spanning over several millennia is amazingly evident. 

Today, pearl fishing is not done here since last four decades.  However, the marine biology of the region continues to support a vast industry of fishing and Shankha gathering, and provide livelihood to hundreds of thousands of people, thanks to the waters of Sethusamudram and the unique ecosphere that it nourishes.

Prime Minister’s observations asking for a project review ignored

The Prime Minister’s Office had raised its concerns on similar grounds about Sethusamudram when in its letter to the Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT) in March of 2005, it had mentioned: ‘The MET Department considers the coastal stretch between Nagapattinam and Pamban as a high risk zone for tropical cyclones.  A study entitled “Identification of Costs Vulnerable for Severe Tropical Cyclones, Statistical Evaluation” published in 2004 has named this coastal stretch as the most vulnerable to severe tropical cyclones among the many coastal regions of the Bay of Bengal.’ (PMO’s questions on Sethusamudram http://sethusamudram.gov.in/Prime.asp ) To this query, an unconvincing back-of-the envelope, telegraphic reply was given. And, there was no reference to the risks posed by oil-spills in a mid-sea channel in a region with a history of severe cyclonic conditions and also, tsunami.

It is shocking that a project which should have been subjected to a total, de novo review after the Dec. 2004 tsunami, was rushed through and inaugurated on 3 July 2005.

On December 16 2004 (just 10 days before the devastating tsunami of 26 Dec. 2004 which killed 2,60,000 people), Union Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee revealed in Lok Sabha that within six months between February and August of 2004 at least 8 large shipping accidents had occurred, leading to oil spills.

High risk of oil-spills

I am grateful to Sarvesh Kumar Tiwari for the insights and documentation he has provided on high probability of oil-spills resulting from navigation in the marine bioreserve. Oil-spills could have disastrous consequences, (Sarvesh Kumar Tiwari, 2007 monograph, ‘Oil-spill disasters and Sethusamudram’) as noted in three parts:

  • Probability of an Oil Spill disaster in case of Sethusamudram Channel
  • Potential impact on local ecology, if such an event were to occur in Sethusamudram
  • Preparedness of the authorities to prevent the disasters; and in event of a disaster contingency plan established by the Project design.

India has obligations under international treaties to sustain the marine environment of the Gulf of Mannar and Palkbay in Setusamudram.

A large number of marine people, living along the coastline, are dependent on aquatic resources of the Indian Ocean for their survival.

Social dimensions of livelihood of marine people and ecological security ought to be primary concerns, while evaluating the sustainability of a navigation project.

Impact of loss of marine life on Marine Communities

Setusamudram is a very high risk marine environment. Oil-spills are a live and present danger given the fragile habitat conditions in the narrow strait of Palkbay-Gulf of Mannar coupled with cyclonic nature of the ocean currents; the very narrowness of the strait increases the risk of oil-spills, resulting in destruction of marine life.

According to marine researcher Necmettin Akten of Istanbul University, the biggest number of ship accidents happens because of human errors, followed by route conditions, then by weather conditions, and generally by a combination of these factors.  The density of vessel traffic, particularly in those narrow areas such as straits, channels, and port approaches, with likely insufficient sea-room, close-quarter situations are frequently encountered.  This also remains a large contributor to shipping hazards. [Akten, Necmettin (2006) “Shipping accidents: a serious threat for marine environment”, Black Sea Mediterranean Environment Vol 12:269-304(2006)]

Considering such operating conditions of the route, Meche Lu and Mark Chernaik, Scientists at Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, provide a perspective: “The transit of vessels through the proposed Sethusamudram Ship Canal would be akin to a tightrope walk – in fact a two tightrope walks when the two-way traffic starts – which even a small deviation from the planned route would entail catastrophic consequences: if for any reason a vessel passing through the canal went astray by a distance of a few hundred meters in Adam’s Bridge, such vessel would likely crash into hard seabed in a manner entailing a major release of fuel oil.” ( Lu, Meche and Chernaik, Mark (2004),”Evaluation of the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Proposed Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project” http://tinyurl.com/38hjqs ) The researchers conclude that going purely by the amount of traffic in the channel, and with the global accident rates prevailing world-wide, there is a risk of one “total loss” accident happening in the channel once in every 18 years of its operation.12 If the particular operating environment and features of the proposed channel are brought into consideration, the probable frequency of such accidents increase manifold.

About 1.5 million people from across 6 coastal districts of Tamil Nadu depend upon marine resources and fishing for their livelihood. 

About 115,000 fisher-folk from 23,000 families live in about 70 fishing villages in the direct neighborhood of the Sethusamudram project area. 

There are 87 fish landing stations between the south of Point Calimere and Pamban in the Palk Bay, and 40 stations in the Gulf of Mannar between Pamban and Tuticorin.  

The fish-landings along the long 8118 km. (or, 3554 nautical miles) coastline of India have increased five-fold during the last 40 years. The fish production has been reported to be gradually increasing year on year; 2,05,700 tonnes was recorded in 2001. 

There are at least 200 commercially important fish species reported in these waters, of varying breeding behaviour as well as habitats like the open sea, near-shores, coral reefs, estuaries or mangroves.  Since these habitats function as essential nursery breeding grounds for many fish species, their exposure to oil spills would result in lower productivity of fisheries, and therefore impact the income of fishermen.

A sizeable percentage of the Setusamudram marine community depends upon Sacred Shankha (turbinella pyrum) related livelihood.  It must be noted that Shankha of these seas fetch many times more price than from any other place in the Indian Ocean. A valampuri (right-twisting) shankha, considered sacred, depending upon its size, sells for as high a price as Rs. 2,500.

Oil spills would result in the most obvious tainting of fish, resulting in complete contamination of the food chain upon which the fisher-folk depend. 

In longer economic cycle, the variation of income of the fishermen is largely tied to the reproduction of the fishes in the region.  Oil spills have a very severe impact upon the reproduction of the fish.  Although fish are at risk in all life stages, but the eggs, larvae and young fish are very sensitive to oil. 

In all, an oil spill would be devastating to fisher-folk, an already impoverished community of Tamil Nadu and other regions of India along the coast.

Cyclone-prone Indian ocean and Setusamudram reefs add to the high-risk of oil-spills

Roughly 7% of the total world-wide genesis of tropical cyclones occurs in the Northern Indian Ocean. 

The coastal area between Pamban and Nagapattinam is vulnerable to storms and this stretch has been experiencing recurrent storm surges, year after year. The coastal area between Pamban and Nagapattinam is highly vulnerable to storms and this stretch has been experiencing storm surges ranging 3m to 5m on several occasions.

The storm of 23rd December 1964 is a tragic example, when surge of waves reaching 5 meters high, washed away the entire Dhanushkodi Island and the Pamban Bridge along with a train full of passengers on it. 

Shipping hazards like straying, grounding, or collisions ultimately can result in potential oil spill disasters in the region.

Besides the bad weather conditions, shallowness or narrowness of the shipping passage also leads ships to seek the bottom of the sea, causing potential oil spill.  The proposed Sethusamudram Channel is long ‘ 167 KM, very narrow’ about 300 meters for a two way traffic, and above all, surrounded by extremely shallow waters — depths as low as 12 meters, and around the Rama Setu area the bottom of a passing ship will be only 3 to 4 meters above the ground.  Moreover, the sedimentation around the Rama Setu area consists of very strong and dense material.

24 reef islands along the coastline between Thuthukudi and Rameshwaram are declared as marine bioreserve parks.

These reefs increase the chances of a collision of naval vessels, resulting in potential oil spills.

Reefs and rocks have historically caused ship wreckages leading to oil slippages, as has been recorded quite a few times within the last decade, in the Indian Ocean and the surrounding regions. 

The proposed mid-ocean Setu Channel is not very far from the reefs – with distances of the channel ranging from 5 to 15 kms. from the coastline. 

Ships straying due to bad weather conditions, may get grounded on the reefs.  Salvage operations of a grounded vessel in a mid-ocean channel will be a nightmarish task, rending the entire channel project at risk.

Dutch shipping records of as old as 1627 mention: great storms that lashed the Coromandel Coast, wrecking 200 vessels from Sao Tome (as Chennai was known to them back then). Even the British annals mention that it were the regular storms of the 15th century that broke off the land connection between Pamban and Rameshwaram, eventually making Rameshwaram an island that it is today. (Papri Sri Raman, “Cyclones, Tsunami and the Sethusamudram Project” www.boloji.com/environment/25.htm )

Captain (Retd.) H Balakrishnan, a career mariner of Indian Navy with 32 years of sailing experience behind him, wrote: “We mariners, in a lighter vein, refer to the Tamil Nadu coast between Rameshwaram and Cuddalore as the ‘cyclone coast’. There are valid reasons for this quip. Of the 256 cyclones, 64 have crossed the Tamil Nadu coast in the recorded history. Of these, 36 were ‘severe cyclones’ (winds in excess of 90 kmph). More interesting, of these cyclones, six had crossed the Palk Bay, 14 had crossed the coast at Nagapattinam and three had crossed the Gulf of Mannar.  All these cyclones can have a devastating consequence on the shipping in the area.  The Bay of Bengal cyclones pose a clear, live and present danger to the safety of lives at sea. And, the SSCP is sought to be created in a ‘cyclone danger area’.” (Balakrishnan, H. Capt (Retd), in THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS on 25-May-2007 )

Oil spill is exposure of vast quantities of chemicals, especially hydrocarbons such as diesel, crude oil, lubricating oil, kerosene, gasoline, heavy metal or other chemicals into the waterways: oceans, seas, straits, channels, lakes or rivers. 

Oil spill is a major pollutant of marine ecology and marine life. The consequent effects on the fishing community’s livelihood will be disastrous.

Imperative of protecting coral reefs of Setusamudram

The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report, prepared by the Setusamudram Channel project promoters, states: “The Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar in which the proposed ship canal is to be constructed are biologically rich and rated among the highly productive seas of the world.  Its diversity is considered globally significant.” The remarkable and unique marine-geography of the region supports various entirely distinct ecosystems in vicinity to each other – Coral reefs, mudflats, beaches, islands, shallow waters, and mangroves.

The EIA report concedes: “Oil pollution is an extreme example of how chemicals, in this case hydrocarbons, can affect reefs.  Research performed in many areas have documented coral mortality, decreased fecundity and recruitment failure in the response to chronic oil pollution.” (Environmental Impact Assessment for Proposed Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, August 2004.  Prepared by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute Nagpur for Tuticorin Port Trust. http://sethusamudram.gov.in/Study.asp )

While the EAI mentions the above, EAI failed to discuss the specifics of the exact nature in which the corals of the region might suffer if oil spill were to take place in Sethusamudram. 

The EAI has precisely one and fairly simplistic explanation to offer: that the chosen configuration is a few KMs away from the reefs. 

This is a specious argument. An oil-spill would have a very large probability of being carried by the monsoon currents towards the location of the reefs.  As a matter of fact, the EAI itself presents in the report elsewhere the data about the nature of ocean currents, which shows that the dominant water currents in this vicinity predominantly tend to be westerly during the Southwest and Northeast monsoons, which is where the corals are located. 

Ocean currents map of the Oxford school atlas shows that this Setusamudram is prone to both clock-wise and anti-clockwise ocean currents. Under such conditions, coral reefs about 5 to 15 kms. from the proposed mid-ocean channel are at risk with long-term profound and devastating impacts on the reefs.

In a study related to the oil spill of 1986 in Panama, it was noted that coral over decreased by 56 to 76 percent of original species Acropora palmate nearly disappeared, sie and diversity of the coral colony itself was significantly decreased. [Change in calcification rate: Birkeland et al. (1976); Neff and Anderson (1981); Dodge et al. (1984); Guzmán et al. (1991, 1994)]

Coral Reefs and mangroves are the tropical rainforests of the seas.  Just like the tropical rainforests, coral reefs and mangroves support a huge scale of different ecosystems and biodiversity in the waters.  They provide shelter to a great range of algae & sponges, and nursery ground to fishes and other families of sea life.  Coral reefs also contribute by recycling the tremendous amount of scarce nutrients of the waters, besides reducing the CO2.

Coral is composed of fragile living-species called coral polyps, each smaller than a pinhead. These animals form a thin layer on large coral reefs, which are the mounds of dead coral polyp skeletons, built up slowly layer upon layer.  Different reef species grow between 5-200 millimeters per year.  

While it might have taken thousands of years to form the sustained system of coral reefs in the Sethusamudram region, sadly it would hardly take any time to kill the live coral systems with an oil spill.  Maintenance dredging that will be needed every year to maintain the required depth along the channel’s sea bed, will also have an adverse impact to the mortality of the reefs.

Reefs are the nursery grounds for the fishing and coral, algae industry.

The Gulf of Mannar alone shelters 3,268 recorded species of flora and fauna, including 377 species which are only found here in the whole world.  137 coral reef species form the basis of a unique and extensive reef framework for a very elaborate and functional ecosystem sheltering many species of plants and animals.

The Gulf of Mannar harbours the highest concentration of sea grass species anywhere in the Indian Ocean.  All the 11 known families of sea grasses occur here with Enhalus acoroides being exclusive only to this region.  Sea grass population is dominated by families like Hydrocharitaceae and Potamogetonaceae, and species like Halodule uninervis, Cymodocea rotunds, and C. Serulata.

The area also has all the known mangrove varieties in India, with Pemphis acidula being endemic to this region only.  Mangroves found here include the species like Rhizophora muctonata, Avicennia alba, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Ceriops tagal, and Lumnitzera racemosa etc.  

The area supports 147 species of sea-weeds, abundance of which make for healthy grazing grounds for sea cows and turtles.

Sethusamudram shelters the following important species of animals and fish, some of which are considered endangered by World Wildlife Fund as well as Wildlife Protection Act of 1972:

  • All the 5 varieties of Sea Turtles are found in this region – Chelonia mydas (Green turtle), Caretta caretta (Logger head turtle), Lepidochelys olivacea (Olive Ridley turtle), Eretmochelys imbricata (Hawksbill turtle), Dermochelys coriacea (Leather back turtle). These species are listed as threatened and protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
  • Sea cow (Dugong dugon) – On red list of endangered species.  The sea-grass beds of Sethusamudram are the largest remaining feeding grounds in the world for these globally endangered species.
  • 6 species of whales including Baleen Whale and Toothed Whale. 4 species of dolphins including Spinner dolphin and Bottle nose dolphin.  All are on the endangered list.
  • Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)
  • Mollusca: A variety of most conspicuous, invertebrates such as bivalves, gastropods and cephalopods, Pearl oyster (Pinctada fucata), and Sacred Conch (Xancus pyrum).  Of the 24 groups of oyster species that generate valuable pearls, 14 occur between the shore and proposed channel, and 5 groups are precisely found along the location of the proposed channel.
  • Spiny lobster, Sea cucumber, a variety of Sea-horses and Sea-anemone, crabs, starfish, and sea urchins, Eels, stomatopoda, a huge diversity of decoration and colourful coral fishes.
  • A unique creature Balano-glosses (Ptychodera fava) – a living fossil linking invertebrates and vertebrates – is known to be found only here in the whole world.

This region is home to over 450 species of fish, 79 species of crustaceans, 108 species of sponges, 260 species of mollusks and 100 species of echinoderms.

The islands and the sandbanks in the region are a regular stopover for the migratory birds traveling between North Indian habitats and Sri Lanka.  Nearly 180 exquisite types of birds find habitat or seasonal resting grounds here.  Lesser sand piper, Curlew sandpiper, Little stint are found here in abundance.  Rare birds like Red knot, Eastern knot, Crab plovers, Bar tailed Godwit, Broad billed Sandpiper, Dunlin, long-toed Stint, redneck Phalarope are regular seasonal visitors.  Little tern, Kentish plover, Stone plover, Stone curlew, lesser crested sterna etc. fly large distances to specifically come here for breeding.  Thousands of Larger flamingos migrate here to spend winters before returning to Rann of Kuch in Gujarat.  The wetlands and marshes of the region support highly vulnerable species like spoonbill sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmaeus) and grey pelican (Pelecanus philippensis), both of which are on the red list of endangered species.

Impact of oilspills on turtles

The green turtle unique to the Setusamudram biosphere has a migratory path from Rameshwaram temple to Tirukkedeeshwaram temple in Talaimannar.

Navigation through Setusamudram will directly cut into this migratory path.

In Indian tradition of Samudra-Manthana (sea-churning), Lord Vishnu takes form of a large Sea Turtle to provide the physical foundation for the act of sea-churning.

Sea-turtles are vulnerable to the effects of oil at all life stages – eggs, post-hatchlings, juveniles, and adults.  Several aspects of sea turtle biology and behavior place them at particular risk, including a lack of oil avoidance behavior, indiscriminate feeding in the sea grass beds in vicinity to the proposed channel, and large pre-dive respiratory inhalation needs.  Oil effects on turtles have been observed worldwide to include fatal egg mortality and developmental defects, direct mortality due to oiling in hatchlings, juveniles, and adults; and hazardous impacts to the skin, blood, digestive and immune systems, and salt glands – often leading to slow death.

Even if the sea turtles do not come in the direct contact with an oil spillage, as probably the Sethusamudram proponents might argue, however turtles are still at risk through eating contaminated food, and reduced food availability.  Marine turtles are mainly omnivorous and often consume sea grasses and algae.  

As is the nature of oil spills, if oil sticks to and contaminates the sea grasses or algae, it would greatly impact the turtles. 

A 1986 oil spill off Panama, for example, trapped oil in sediments of intertidal beds of turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum), eventually contaminating and killing the seagrass.  As a result, many invertebrates were reported killed over time and many others declined in numbers.

Impact on endangered species

11 species of sea mammals are recorded in the region, including sirenia (1 species of sea cow dugong) and cetacea (6 species of whales and 4 species of dolphins). All of these are classified as highly endangered species under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

Sea cow dugongs are a long living and less reproductive animals, and are severely endangered globally. They are fully herbivorous and feed on sea grass beds.  Sethusamudram region has some of the largest feeding grounds for these animals. Since oil spill would almost certainly contaminate the sea grasses, this would lead to the loss of their largest feeding grounds, besides potentially poisoning them through contaminated sea grass feeding.  

Besides this, the dugong’s head is heavy and blunt, with the mouth on the underside of the head designed for grazing.  They have smooth skins but coarse hairs around their mouths which serve as sensors as they search for edible sea grasses.  If surfacing near oil slicks with the head out to breathe, dugongs may foul these sensory hairs and also get oil in their eyes. This could cause inflammation and infections, and in long term could severely affect their ability to feed and breed.

There has been little research on the precise effects of oil on the dugong, but it is thought they could suffer “lipid pneumonia” if they inhale oil droplets and oil vapour when they surface through oil slicks to breathe. Dugongs may also suffer from long term chronic effects such as liver problems if they consume oil droplets or oil-affected sea grasses. Depending upon the amount and composition of the ingested oil, the effects could range from acute, to subtle, to progressive organ damage.  Aromatics and other low molecular weight hydrocarbons can be absorbed from the intestine and transported via the bloodstream to various target organs within the dugong.

Conclusions

With another tsunami coming (report in Nature Magazine of Sept. 6, 2007) which will be more devastating than the 2004 tsunami putting at risk 6 to 7 crore marine people of the Indian Ocean along the Indian coastline, all coastal projects should be suspended and subjected to a review by a multi-disciplinary team of experts including Geological Survey of India, National Institute of Oceanography and maritime, security experts. Just as Japan has provided tsunami protection walls, provisions should be included to provide for tsunami protection walls. Rama Setu is a natural tsunami protection wall. It will be foolhardy to desiccate this natural security system for India and Srilanka which are governed by a declaration of the region as Historic Waters by Indira Gandhi and Sirimavo Bandaranaike in June 1974. To convert this bioreserve into international waters and an international waters boundary where none existed before, is a recipe for impairing national sovereignty and security of the coastline.

Sources:

The Behavior and Effects Of Oil Spills In Aquatic Environments, EPA Office of Emergency and Remedial Response USA

Greenpeace International, recent Oil Spills http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/recent-oil-spills

  • August 15, 2007 – 290 miles from the coast of India, Japanese-operated oil tanker Bright Artemis collided with a smaller cargo ship it was attempting to assist. About 1.4 million gallons of crude oil was spilled.  A very serious incident, but largely overshadowed by the disastrous spills in the Philippines and Lebanon which happened at around the same period.  Its complete effects remain to be studied.
  • May 30, 2006 Panama-registered ship MV Ocean Seraya, anchored off Karwar harbour stranded in the oyster rocks around Devgad Island due to bad weather.  The vessel carrying about 700 MT of fuel oil later split into two halves near Karnataka-Goa coast.
  • March 23 2005 – An Indian Barge MV Prapti collided with Singapore Cargo Vessel MV Maritime Wisdom resulting in damage to the fuel tank of cargo vessel. This resulted in leakage of approximately 60 tonnes of fuel oil.
  • April 2004 – Oil spillage occurred in Goa due to collision between an iron ore carrying barge “Prapti” and vessel “M.V. Maritime Wisdom”. Also see reference 4 for particularly disastrous record of year 2004
  • March 2001 – Merchant Ship MV Luncam sank 46 miles off Haldia port.  The ship was carrying 11000 tons of Ammonia Phosphate, 2200 tons of Di-Ammonia Phosphate, and 662 metric ton of oil.

Lok Sabha Archives, 2004, Parliament of India. http://164.100.24.208/lsq14/quest.asp?qref=5391 List of maritime accidents between Feb and Aug 2004:

  • On 20th February 2004, MSV JAL JYOTI an Indian Registered vessel sank off Okha, Gujarat.
  • On 19th March 2004, MT DELTA 1, a Panama Registered vessel collided with MV APL Pusan and broke into two parts off Vadinar, Gujarat. 
  • On 31st March 2004, TUG TB MAYANG SARI, a Malaysian registered TUG sank outside Indian water off Nancawry island in the Andaman group of Islands.
  • On 13th April 2004, MV Genius Star VI, a Malaysian vessel sank off Sagar island near Haldia. 
  • On 28th May 2004, MV AZBUL BHER a wooden vessel Sank off Port Blair.
  • On 16th June 2004, MV DORSET a Korean Ship Sank off Mumbai Harbour. 
  • On 16th August 2004, MV KEN Explorer, a Liberian vessel ran ground off Gulf of Cambay.
  • On 28th August 2004, AL-SAH-IN-SAH HIND sank off Mundra, Gujarat.

Mariner Group, A History of Oil Spills http://www.marinergroup.com/oil-spill-history.htm

Natural Resources of Gulf of Mannar Area: http://iomenvis.nic.in/gulf%20of%20mannar.htm

Santhanam, Ramasamy (2007),Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Tamilnadu (India) Fishermen http://www.ser.org/iprn/pdf/Ramasamy_Santhanam.pdf

Sarah Milton, Peter Lutz, and Gary Shigenaka (2003), “Oil Toxicity and Impacts on Sea Turtles” http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/40_turtle_chapter4.pdf

Sarvesh Tiwari, 2007, Oil spill disasters and Sethusamudram:

http://www.india-forum.com/essay/12662/1/Oil-Spill-Disasters-and-Sethusamudram—I:-A-Total-Loss-Accident-Every-18-years?

http://www.india-forum.com/essay/12666/1/Oil-Spill-Disasters-and-Sethusamudram-–-II:-The-Paradise-Lost? (Mirrored at: https://kalyan98.wordpress.com/2008/01/03/oil-spill-disasters-and-setusamudram-sarvesh-kumar-tiwari/ )

Subramanian TS, (2005) “SETHUSAMUDRAM CANAL PROJECT: Ecologists’ anguish” http://www.flonnet.com/fl2201/stories/20050114005002600.htm

Swaminathan, MS and committee (2005), A Review Report on Costal Regulation Zone Notification of 1991

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2 Responses to “Setusamudram channel, an ecological disaster”

  1. Maritime Safety News Today - 4th January 2008 « Bob Couttie’s Maritime Accident Casebook Says:

    […] before the disaster. The bureau disputed Spain’s allegations, saying the sinking of the Setusamudram channel, an ecological disaster By kalyan97 … Assessment for the Proposed Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project” […]

  2. tony snow Says:

    great article, whish more posted long blogs like this,

    Thanks

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