A leak in the pipeline of a refinery that caused oil spill in Nagore Pattinacherry coast in the district here has been contained and steps are on to ensure a lasting solution to the issue, a senior official said on Saturday.

However, the unrelenting fishers from the village, who noticed the oil spill on Friday morning, continued their agitation for the second day today demanding the authorities to remove the underwater crude oil pipeline.

The leak in the pipeline of the Cauvery Basin Refinery of the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) could have probably occurred on Thursday night, apparently due to damage to the old pipeline used to transport crude oil to the Karaikal port once in one-and-a-half months.

“Though the leak in the pipeline was reported on Friday, the officials could not take up the restoration work immediately because of the high tide. Work to arrest the oil spill and clean the coast was taken up after the tide receded,” Nagapattinam District Collector A Arun Thamburaj said.

Following the collector’s orders officials from CPCL, Coast Guard, police and fire and rescue service officials worked round the clock and arrested the leakage in the early hours today. 

The drip in the carbon steel pipeline was clamped temporarily and the district administration has directed the refinery to find a lasting solution, a senior official said.

Workers from the CPCL used excavators to create a bund on the shoreline while sandbags were piled around the damaged pipeline to facilitate the clamping during the low tide between 1 am to 4.45 am today.

The pipeline, laid about 20 years ago, remained idle for most part of the month. It is suspected that the residue in the pipeline could have caused the minor leak leading to the oil spill for about 50 metres.

Local fishermen abstained from fishing for the second day today and continued their agitation demanding the refinery to remove the pipeline. They claimed fish died due to the oil spill which posed health hazards for them. Revenue and police officials held a peace talk with the protesting fishers.