Panaji: The Congress on Saturday, lambasted the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) for not preventing oil spills from settling along Goa’s coastline with its beaches and coastal areas covered with tar balls.

The tar balls, which line the beach, pose a threat to tourists since they smell like machine oil and tend to stick and smear feet with an oily residue. PIC FOR REPRESENTATIONAL PURPOSE ONLY

The ICG has failed in preventing ships from causing mini oil spills by discharging the oil-laced water from their ballast tanks off Goa’s coast, which eventually results in menacing tar balls, said state Congress president John Fernandes (at a press conference at the party’s headquarters here.) “The ICG is not vigilant. That is the problem,”  Fernandes said.

Marine scientists have attributed the messy tar ball phenomenon to discharge of burnt-oil and ballast water into the sea off the coast by ships, resulting in large quantities of semi-solid oil lumps, depositing on the beaches in the vicinity.

The wax-like lumps are caused due to the reaction of the oil with sea water. Several beaches such as Vagator, Benaulim and Bag are affected by the tar ball ‘invasion’ this year.

These tar balls, which line beaches, are posing a threat to the state’s tourism because they not only smell bad like used machine oil, but also tend to stick and smear feet with an oily residue, if one walks on a beach affected by the spill.

“These oil spills are a long term threat to the tourism in Goa. The government should in no uncertain terms rouse the coast guard into action and track down the rogue ships which are responsible for the mess,” Fernandes said.