An Iranian official has confirmed a major leak off an oil rig near Kharq Island in the Persian Gulf and said considering the spread of the contamination more equipment and reinforcement is required for the clean-up operation. The leak started at least a week ago but neither the Iranian Oil Ministry nor the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) have yet commented on it.
On November 26, an Iranian official of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Bushehr Province confirmed the leak after a satellite image published by TankerTrackers.com on Twitter showed the spill had spread and measured 20 kilometers (12 miles) in length.
Speaking to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Tuesday the head of the local branch of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) in the province of Bushehr Siyavosh Arjomandzadeh said the leak now covers an area of around 24 kilometers. The official said four vessels have been dispatched to the area to spray dispersants on the leak.
According to Arjomandzadeh neither the Ports and Maritime Organization nor the Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) which owns the oil rigs, would be able to fully contain the leak on their own. Efforts were being coordinated at regional and national levels to accelerate the clean-up operations, he said.
According to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) the spill which initially measured 15 miles in length and 100 meters in width began around November 22 from one of the rigs eight miles to the west of Kharq Island.
Aboozar offshore oil field, which has three drilling rigs, has been in use since 1977. The rigs produce between 195,000 to 220,000 barrels of crude oil per day which is delivered to the mainland through a pipeline.
The new leak comes two months after another spill of a smaller size was cleaned up by the local authorities and environmental NGOs in the same region.
TankerTrackers.com which calls itself an "impartial watchdog" publishes data on the production, refinement, shipping and trading of crude oil on a global level to prevent governments covering up long-term environmental hazards caused by these activities.