In Pics: In the aftermath of oil spill, the fish market in Chennai goes silent

In Pics: In the aftermath of oil spill, the fish market in Chennai goes silent

Vellu was out fishing off the KVK Kuppum coast on the morning of January 28. He spotted dead fishes and turtles in the sea but was unaware of what had happened until he reached the shore.

On his return, his catch was not selling in the market and he soon discovered the reason. Earlier that morning, a collision had taken place when MT BW Maple was leaving the port after emptying its containment of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, and MT Dawn Kanchipuram loaded with petroleum oil lubricant (POL) was on its way to park at the Kamarajar Port, formerly Ennore port.

A collision between the two happened leading to an oil leakage of the magnitude of 75000 tonnes. Soon Whatsapp started doing the rounds that fish was unsafe to consume. Vellu, oblivious of the magnitude of the tragedy, stored his catch in ice in order to try selling it the next day, but when that didn’t work out either, Vellu just left his fish to dry.

With no help coming their way, Vellu, Powler and many other small scale fishermen struggle to make ends meet.

Such are the stories of small fishermen living in villages along the coast line of Chennai who venture out on small boats in groups of 1-6 people to fish closer to the coast. Ever since the disaster, there has been no help extended to this community from the government despite the visit of chief minister OPS Paneerselvam to the Bharatiyar Nagar beach where many of these communities live.

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With meagre incomes from half a dozen fishing visits they make every month these communities are struggling to survive. Read More…

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