Human error blamed for ship collision off Mumbai

Human error caused the collision of two cargo vessels off Mumbai last year that forced the temporary closure of two of India`s busiest ports, the country`s maritime regulator said.

Last Updated: Apr 15, 2011, 16:30 PM IST

Mumbai: Human error caused the collision of two cargo vessels off Mumbai last year that forced the temporary closure of two of India`s busiest ports, the country`s maritime regulator said.

Holed below the waterline after colliding with the MV Khalijia-III on August 7, 2010, the MSC Chitra spilled hundreds of cargo containers into the sea and oil leaked from its ruptured fuel tanks.

Maritime traffic in and out of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port and nearby Mumbai Port -- which handle 40 percent of India`s seaborne cargo -- was stopped for nearly a week while the busy waterway was made safe.

"The primary cause of collision between the two vessels and its aftermath is attributed `human factor`," the Directorate General of Shipping said in a report into the collision posted on its website on Thursday.

"The primary cause of collision between MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia 3 is lack of professional competence demonstrated by masters of both the ships in navigation of their vessels in narrow waters," it added.

"Both vessels could have avoided this collision through their actions alone, if taken in ample time."

The report recommended that the certificates of competency of both ships` masters should be suspended for a period.

It also called for tighter safety checks on ships, after it emerged that the Khalijia-III had been involved in an incident less than a month before the collision which had left it "sub-standard".

In addition, improvements should be made in radio links between ports and shipping as well as piloting, while the authorities needed to have better pollution control measures and equipment, the report said.

Bureau Report