Oil spill off Mumbai coast: Green Tribunal seeks MoEF`s reply

MV Rak had sank 20 nautical miles off the South Mumbai coast in the Arabian Sea on August 4, 2011.

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has sought replies of the Centre and the owner of Panama-flagged cargo vessel MV Rak, which sank off Mumbai coast last year, on a plea for compensation for damages caused to the marine ecology due to the oil spill.

The Tribunal issued notices to Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Maharashtra Government, Mumbai Maritime Board, the ship`s owner Delta Shipping Marine Services, SA for the environmental damages caused, also due to the dumping of 60,000 metric tonnes coal from the ship into the sea.

Adani Enterprises Ltd, to whom the coal was to be delivered, for a thermal plant in Gujarat, was also asked to respond to the plea by an environmentalist for computation of the damages.

The Tribunal directed that the notice to Delta Shipping Marine Services, SA, should be served through Panama Embassy and posted the matter for hearing on July 20.

The orders came on a plea by Samir Mehta, a Mumbai-based environmentalist, who did not quantify the actual loss and the compensation.

The plea filed through advocate Rahul Chaudhary sought directions to authorities to submit a report on the damage caused to the environment and marine ecology and the probable cost of its restoration and said the quantification of compensation be undertaken thereafter.

Seeking compensation on "the polluter pays principle," the petitioner said the companies should bear the cost on account of the harm and destruction to the environment, marine ecology, public property and the mangroves due to the oil spill and the coal dumping from the ship that sank.

MV Rak had sank 20 nautical miles off the South Mumbai coast in the Arabian Sea on August 4, 2011. The cargo ship carried around 290 tons of fuel oil in its tank, 50 tons of diesel on-board and 60,000 tons of coal for Adani Enterprises Ltd`s thermal power plant at Dahej in Gujarat.