Mumbai/New Delhi: Normal traffic at the
Mumbai harbour, disrupted after Saturday`s collision between
two freighters, is likely to be restored by Sunday but it will
take at least 45 days to complete the salvage operations.
It will take five more days for normalisation of channel
operations, Maharashtra Minister for Ports and Transport
Radhakrishna Vikhe Patel told reporters.
Making a statement in Parliament, Environment Minister
Jairam Ramesh said normal traffic would be restored at the
harbour by August 15.
Six Coast Guard vessels and a helicopter continued to
spray dispenser chemicals for the fourth day today to
neutralise the patches of oil that have spread over quite a
large area along the coastline.
Foreign experts from SMIT, a Netherlands-based company,
hired for salvage efforts, went into a huddle with Coast Guard
officials to prepare a blueprint for preventing any further
oil spill into the sea.
According to Coast Guard sources, discussions were held
with Captain Eric J B Kraan, General Manager (Salvage) Asia,
of SMIT. It has been decided to suck out the remaining oil in
the ship, which though dangerously tilted, has steadied.
One floating crane and two tugboats would be pressed
into service for picking up and towing away floating
containers in the navigation channel. Nearly 25 containers
that tumbled from the ship into the sea and were adrift, have
Of the 1219 containers on the ship, around 150 were
believed to have slipped into the sea due to the tilt.
Sources said customs authorities were being liaised with
for speedy clearance of the retrieved containers.
Effective salvage operations, they said, would commence
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who had undertaken an aerial
survey of the affected areas, said, "the situation is under
control now". He said it has been estimated that between
400-500 metric tonnes of oil may have spilled from the vessel
which was carrying 2,662 metric tonnes of oil.
Meanwhile, terming the oil spill as a "big disaster", the
Centre has said it will make every effort to clean the
polluted water as soon as possible.
"We have technology. We will try to clean the water as
soon as possible," Minister of State for Science and
Technology Prithviraj Chavan told reporters in Delhi.