31 January 2013

Kenya: Beach Oil Spill Scares Residents

AN oil spill into the Indian Ocean at Madhubaha beach in Mombasa has scared area residents and threatened aquatic life. Maritime police, National Environmental Management Agency and Kenya Ports Authority officials have not established the cause of the spill.

Witnesses said the oil spilled after a loaded tanker plunged back into the ocean."It was around 7.30 pm yesterday and the tanker failed to take off, forcing its way back to the ocean. This is something that has been happening here for some time," said Hubert Yaa.

Yaa, who is among beach boys who have been running boat services, said a saloon car suspected to belong to the owners of the tanker was spotted at the scene immediately after the incident.

Another witness, Abdusalam Omar, said:"We came in the morning and found the whole shore smeared with oil deposits. We could not swim of do anything here."

Nema enforcement officer Ben Wemali said the oil was a threat to lives and endangered the aquatic life.

"This is a serious incident and we will investigate immediately. We are going to partner with other line agencies and ensure the culprits are brought to book," said Wemali.

KMA environment officer Peter Mbereri termed the business as illegal and dangerous to human land aquatic life.

"For now we can't say anything. But what you ought to know is it's illegal to do oil bunkering from this point and then the spillage itself is dangerous," said Mbereri.

KPA operations manager Twalif Hamisi said he was not sure if a license had been issued to a company or organisation to store oil in the area.

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