Monsoon winds steer a ship near Karachi’s Clifton Beach, reminds of 2003 incident

Ship taken off guard by stormy sea

A cargo ship has ‘docked’ near Karachi’s famous beach in Clifton. The ship is currently stuck at the public beach after developing technical faults as it was not able to sail due to high waves and strong southern winds.

The city usually experiences high ocean currents and strong sea breeze due to the monsoon season that commonly runs from July till August in the city. This reminds of an event that took place in 2003!

Oil spill of 2003 resembled a scene from a

Hollywood sci-fi

MT Tasman Spirit Ship stuck in 2003

The incident is identical to a much worse disaster that took place in 2003 that brought toxic fumes leading to the death of several marine animals. In August of that year, a massive tanker carrying oil got caught in a monsoon storm 800 metres away from the port in Karachi. As it got stuck in the high tides, Over 60,000 tonnes of oil was spilled along the Pakistani coast. It was a huge environmental disaster!

Impact on Karachi’s marine life was devastating. (Actual Image from 2003)

Hundreds of turtles, fishes and sea birds were washed ashore dead, the citizens were advised not to consume sea food for some time. Odour associated with the oil spill was prevalent across the city. Schools and other academic institutes near the coast were closed for one-week because of the unhealthy air quality. Similarly, residents living near the place of incident were recommended to evacuate as there was a panic of explosion which could have made matters worse. Due to breathing difficulties, many individuals were instructed to wear masks (not a new concept in a post COVID-19 world).

Since it was a heavy monsoon season, a total of 355.2 mm rain was recorded, much ahead of the normal annual rain of 170 mm to 200 mm, there was a fear that these winds can take the poisonous air further into the city and surrounding towns. Hence, the people were advised to stay indoors during the rain in August.

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