Over the past few days, there have been a number of reports of sighting oil slicks off the coast of Kochi. On Tuesday morning, a large patch of petro-chemical like iridescent substance was seen floating on the water near Aspinwall House in Kochi, leading experts to suspect a possible oil spill or dumping of petrochemicals into the waters off the coast of Kochi. Scientists who were on board the fisheries research vessel, Silver Pompano, said that they had seen an oil leak in the outer sea around two hours off Kochi coast, a few days ago. “The slick was about 20m deep and we had collected a sample thinking it was crude oil. But it was not. The oil appeared to have been emptied from some passenger liner, or merchant vessel,” said a senior scientist with the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). Junior marine researchers, who were collecting samples from Kochi backwaters on Tuesday morning, found a considerably large slick, identified by the iridescent color, and collected samples for research. “Bright luminous bands of color on the water indicated the presence of at least 200 gallons of petrochemical per square mile (2.5km). These patches are common in the waters of Kochi and are a cause for concern,” said one of the researchers. The Navy and Coast Guard said that there were no reports of oil spills off Kochi in the last few days. But there has been one such report of a slick spotted off the coast of Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

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