Sunday, August 8, 2010

Efforts on to check oil spill off Mumbai

The authorities on Sunday launched efforts on a war footing to combat the oil spill from a Panaman ship which crashed

The damaged cargo ship MSC Chitra is seen in the Arabian Sea, off the Mumbai coast. Two Panamanian cargo ships collided off the Mumbai coast causing an oil spill from one of the vessels.
into another vessel in Mumbai harbour, an official said.

The MSC Chitra had crashed into the St Kitts-registered MV Khalijia-III on Saturday.

Five Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ships and two helicopters have been pressed into service for checking the massive oil spill in the Mumbai harbour, around five km south of Mumbai, the official said.

Due to the impact of the collision, MSC Chitra has dangerously tilted in the sea and rescue groups were seeing containers that it was carrying falling from it at regular intervals.

Since the containers are floating in the choppy Arabian Sea, it poses a serious hazard to vessels navigating in that area and consequently, shipping traffic has been kept on hold for the time being, an official said.

The coast guard vessels - Sankalp, Amrit Kaur, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, Kamla Devi and C-145 - have joined advanced offshore patrol vessel Sangram which was deployed since Saturday to monitor the oil spill and guide the relief efforts.

Accroding to the ICG, two helicopters were pressed into service for aerial spraying of dispersants on the thick oil slick through regular sorties. Nearly 150 litres of dispersants had so far been sprayed.

The ICG's smaller vessels are now engaged in churning down the oil sheen for weathering/emulsification, but the discharge from the grounded ship continued, thwarting the efforts by different agencies.

The official said that the authorities are making the best efforts to mitigate and minimise the damage to the sea due to the oil spill.

"Containment and recovery of spilled oil in present position is not feasible because of the rocky surface and the prevailing weather and tidal conditions," the official explained.

The ICG rescued all the 33 sailors from the two ships. The two vessels, loaded with containers of dry cargo, collided when one of them was attempting to berth at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), off Mumbai, around 9.45 a.m. Saturday, an ICG official said.


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