A seal slaughter nearing rush hour

Animals

6.01.12.Vremya the last week of January to the beginning of the second decade of March could be the most deadly to the Caspian seal herds.

During this period, the female seals flock to the ice of the North Caspian Sea, where the need to give, like a thousand years ago, the new offspring. To his misfortune, "hospital" Caspian seals located in the North Caspian oil operations of the project, which is developing super-giant Kashagan oil field.

Deadly next season delivery of Caspian seals stanetiz kickoff-growing activity of the Kashagan consortium. On the basis of the marine oil operations artificial island D number of employees has grown to more than 6000 people.

Accordingly, the activity will increase dramatically fleet NCOC — and his agency company "Agip KCO". Numerous staff have to supply necessary to import equipment, waste disposal, etc. The route passes through the fleet NCOC ice rookeries pregnant female seals.

X-Files

Caspian seals are the first victims of the Kashagan project. Vessel traffic icebreaking fleet "Agip KCO" is a major cause of mass death of Caspian seals. Day-to-day trial consortium NCOC crush seals on the ice of the Caspian Sea in the most important and most vulnerable period of their lives — when babies are born.

That babies and their mothers are most often the victims of ships. This is evidenced by the report itself for closed company "Agip KCO" — "An international study of the Caspian seal — a report on assessment of the impact of icebreakers in 2010» (№ CISS-AR-002-2010 from January 2011).

Report received by us after an official request to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the State Committee for Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture of the RK-cherezZhayyk KaspiyskiyOrhussky center. Official response we have not yet received, but "proactive officials" leaked documents.

And explained the step of some expediency. Like, the authorities did not want to risk it, because on the one hand, the value of the seal is not comparable to the price of the Kashagan project, but on the other — there is a risk that sooner or later the secret will still be visible and then may ask — where to look?

Virus "unrequited love"

Periodically, after the melting of ice from mid-April to late May on the coast of the Mangistau region discovered a carcass dead seals — from tens to hundreds and thousands. What are the only versions of the causes of their deaths was not built — viruses, petroleum products, poaching network, the release of hydrogen sulfide and other gases …

Minister of Environmental Protection Nurgali Ashim, commenting on the death of seals in 2009, said that this is due to global warming. When these factors have not been confirmed, they started saying that the massive sea seals — a natural phenomenon, they say, the animals were killed "bundles" are always, at all times.

The death of Caspian seals, of course, happened before, long before the Kashagan consortium, for example, in 1972 and 1996, but it was not an annual event, as it is now, the phenomenon. And every year the death of marine animals is becoming more mysterious.

Mass death of seals in this year's Senior Fellow, Institute of Microbiology and Virology of the Ministry of Education and Science Aydin Kadyrmanov explained to "natural causes."

Proviso, however, that the human impact on the death may have mentioned, along with other possible causes of shipping. In the hearts of the public is one of the Mangistau environmentalists Lyudmila Petrichenko expert commented that conclusion: "Now I understand. Seals died of unrequited love! ".

Interestingly, even "green" is not associated with mortality of seals routes icebreakers. I remember, at the suggestion of the Minister of Shipping as the cause of their death environmentalists reacted with laughter, saying that what turns out — were the ships, and the seals were frightened and immediately died?

Anyone and had no idea that, in fact, this is true — just dying animals do not fear. Widespread areas of the Northern Caspian waters ships "AdzhipKKO-NCOC" simply can not bypass the seals, iron thousands of defenseless baby seal pups and their mothers.

In this case, it turned out, all those years state agencies were well aware of the real causes of death of seals, as Kashagan consortium received reports (reports British scientist Callan Duck of universitetaSen-Endryudlya OKIOK company and an international group of scientists, led by British scientists as Sue Wilson and Simon Goodman of the University of Leeds, the company "Agip KCO").

But preferred, and prefer to remain silent about the death of seals connection with the development of the Kashagan field. Seals in the winter gather just in the North Caspian to reproduction: the area's natural, "hospital."

Out-of zaflota NCOC Caspian seals in recent years have left the baby seals of the island, the very name of which suggests that they have been for many years a favorite of these animals.

Now they are relegated to non-navigable and deserted bay Kaidak which have placed in the summer months. But in the winter in order to bring the pups, seals need ice, and they are forced to return, to be crushed ships Kashagan consortium.

Bloody arithmetic

An estimated group of scientists led by Sue Wilson and Simon Goodman, contracted with the company "Agip KCO", one pass icebreaker on average die 20 seals.

In addition, ships often scare away the animals, resulting in the mother and cubs are scattered in different directions. And if the mother after passing convoy not find pups, the pups will inevitably perish.

Estimated gruppyUilson-Goodman, at least 10% of babies born to die as a result of the fleet of the company "Agip KCO". How many caravans icebreaking season holds for the company?

According to their estimates, the year of the company's fleet kill nearly 5,000 seals. Activity is only growing fleet of the consortium, as the fleet NCOC provides now supply 5,000 workers on the island D: importing their equipment, food, garbage and wastes, etc. NCOC fleet already includes (from this year) 10 icebreakers, which are active during the entire ice.

The death of five thousand individuals per year — this is very serious, given their numbers today, according to the same group of scientists, is 90 thousand.

And nachale20-goveka their number was estimated at one million individuals. Such a dramatic reduction in population has led to the fact that in October 2008 the status of the marine mammal has been changed from the category of "vulnerable" to "endangered."

Another 10-12 years, and in this mode of shipping Caspian seals will be wiped out completely. Considering that up to 10,000 seals (estimated gruppyUilson-Goodman) a year destroy also poachers, it can happen much earlier in 5-6 years!

As to the report, the death of seals from oil operations in the North Caspian Sea, in principle, is not such imminent. At least, in an amount (5000 individuals per year). If you follow some rules — such as the ban on night traffic, preliminary aerial reconnaissance for the optimal workaround, installing monitors in the stern of the vessel — the bloody tragedy could be avoided.

These recommendations give the consortium in 2001, the British scientist Callan Duck. Companies apparently, these recommendations are not particularly liked, especially the ban on night traffic, and cooperation with a consortium of Callan Duck was discontinued.

One of the most difficult problems in the development of the Kashagan project is to transport cargo to the area of oil operations. Consortium for measures to protect the seals are minor compared to the logistics requirements. Yes, and the recommendations seem to fly into a lot of money.

Which replaced Callan Duck international team-uchenyhUilson Gudmanslovo for word repeated recommendations Callan Duck. Captains recommended to stop, if possible, for the craft, if the front will be seals, or attempt to circumvent the accumulation of animals, the whole ship from the main navigation channel. But in practice, even the mildest of these recommendations is practically not observed. Or they may be impossible to comply.

Do not brake — Davie!

The report provides an account of the progress of scientific observation of the caravan from the icebreaker "Tulpar" February 19, 2010. Even in the presence of scientists, fixing caravan impact on seals, the victims were seven pairs of women with cubs. Two pairs of crushed ice flow directly "Tulpar."

The captain explained in the first case that the "Tulpar", the most powerful in the fleet of ice flow, no such review as the other ships of the "Arktikaborg" and "Antarktikaborg" (of "Wagenborg") and "Captain Chudinov." Scientists have managed to take a picture of a mother and pup on the edge of the old channel still alive, and then take pictures already dead mother, as soon as her hit "Tulpar."

Bloodied puppy for some remained on the ice, but soon completely disappeared under the water. In the second case, the steering "Tulpar", even being warned that the exchange rate is a pair of "mother-baby", did not stop and did not change course. He explained to the scientists that the "Tulpar" should barge caravan!

Scientists have not been able to determine the number of seals killed in action rather strange icebreaker "Tarpan", pushes large barge. Caravan escort icebreaker "Arktikaborg" February 2, 2010.

Steering "Tarpan" showed strange foolhardiness: instead follow his escort, "Tarpan" and barge repeatedly came out of the caravan and do the channel and go along with the "Arktikaborgu" or even a few hundred yards ahead of him, sometimes getting stuck in the ice.

Moving ahead of his escort, "Tarpan" walked through a small colony of seals with the puppies! It is possible that once a dozen puppies and some females were crushed, as if scientists could not count. And neither the "tarpans" or barge did not notice anything.

Scientists have enlisted this case in the category of non-registered into the death of seals. And how many such facts?

Chronicles of death of seals

In April 2000, at the start of drilling the first exploration well on the East Kashagan were found more than 10 thousand individuals who died in the Zuid-Vestovyhostrovah Atyrau region, islands seals, small pearl on the coast of Mangistau region. The cause of their death was an epidemic of canine distemper by chronic toxicity and very low immunity in seals.

From April 27 to May 15, 2006 in 2207 and 337 sturgeon species of seals killed in the North Caspian Sea vostochnoychasti in Kalamkas, of which more than half — young. The cause of their deaths has not been established.

Minister of Environmental Protection Nurlan Iskakov said that if the perpetrators of the death of seals in the Caspian Sea will be the oil companies, they will be held accountable for what happened. "In this case, follow the penalties, damages and suspension of drilling until the causes (cause mass mortality of seals)," — said Iskakov.

In 2007, 928 dead seals were found in the same deposit Kalamkas.

In 2008, near the Kalamkas and Karazhanbas killed 72 seals.

In May 2009, in gorodaFort Shevchenko, the islands and the coast in the field area Armand killed 355 seals.

In May 2009, on the coast of the Caspian Sea have counted hundreds of dead seals, including Tubkaraganskom area in the Mangistau region — more than 350 carcasses of dead seals.

Beachfront Tupkaragan region May 10, 2011 were found about 50 carcasses of dead seals.

Author: Arthur SHAHNAZARYAN

Source: REPUBLIC

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