2nd oil tanker spill in Clifton in a month

Around 50,000 litres of oil spilled in Clifton Block 2 when a parked truck overturned on Friday.

Shahzad Jillani July 30, 2010

Around 50,000 litres of oil spilled in Clifton Block 2 when a parked truck overturned on Friday.

The model L-6 truck, bearing registration number K-3308 from Quetta, flipped over because the shaft pin that connected the tanker with the front of the vehicle was displaced.

“Someone must have pulled the pin out of the shaft,” said the driver of the truck, Habib Rehman. “The moment the truck moved, the tanker lost its balance and overturned.”

The tanker also damaged the left door and the frame of another oil tanker parked parallel to it on the service road, said the driver, adding that this one was manufactured by Hino with registration number TKK-279.

The spill occurred at 2:35 pm, right after Friday prayers, so a large crowd gathered to collect as much oil as possible. “Many people, including policemen, started filling the oil in drums and jars after the spill,” claimed Bakhtullah Afridi, a representative of MS Venus, a company that holds the contract for the tanker. A police official defended the miscreants and said it was not a sin to collect the oil as it helped clear the area. “Who will use this form of oil mixed with dirt? And even if we got some then it is not a big deal,” he said.

The oil tanker lost 25,000 litres of oil, according to an estimate by the contractor. He said that the tanker was parked for two days and was about to head to its destination when the accident took place.

Officials of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) also arrived and took measures to stop the tanker from spilling more oil and spreading to the surrounding areas. The CDGK staff covered the spill with sand to make the road less slippery. A lifter was also called to move the oil tanker. Boat Basin police blocked one side of the road leading towards Bilawal House.

Later, Rangers were also called in to patrol the area surrounding the site of the spill.

The oil tanker was insured by Adamjee insurance so several officers of the company also reached the site to assess the level of damage.

“The amount of insurance will be given to MS Venus but the exact amount of the losses cannot be ascertained at the moment,” said Afridi, adding that it would be evaluated based on the export rate.

A similar incident took place in June when a speeding oil tanker, carrying at least 40,000 litres overturned near Bilawal Chowrangi in Clifton. Residents have often complained about the illegal parking of such tankers in the area but the tanker associations claim they are still awaiting an alternate terminal.

“This [situation] is dangerous for people living here,” said a resident of Sea Cliff apartments. “First the smell of the sea shells was disturbing us, now the oil. I will not be able to open my window for God knows how many days,” she exclaimed.

These tankers should be moved immediately from the area, said a resident, appealing to the governor, the chief minister and the chief justice of Pakistan to help them out.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2010.


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