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Oil spill on from cargo ship, FIR against crew

Last Updated: Monday, August 9, 2010 - 00:21

Mumbai: A foreign cargo ship, which collided
with another vessel about 10 km off Mumbai harbour, spilled
oil for the second day on Sunday and perilously tilted dropping
more fuel containers into sea, as hectic efforts were underway
to quickly contain the leak.

An FIR was also registered against the crew members of
MSC Chitra -- from which oil was spilling -- and MV Khaleejia-III,
a day after the two vessels had collided resulting in huge
oil spill, police said. Both are Panamanian cargo ships.

The Coast Guard also carried out anti-pollution
operations spraying dispersants on the thick oil slick while
traffic at harbour remained suspended. Fishing associations
have been also requested not to carry out any fishing
activities till the oil spill is contained, officials said.

Officials are yet to locate the leakage as some portion
of Chitra has submerged into the water. The thick oil slick
has been sighted two to three kms around the vessel Chitra.

The Coast Guard, in its bid to contain the spill,
pressed into service five ships and two helicopters with
anti-pollution dispersal spray systems.

"Traffic has been suspended as the containers are still
sighted floating into the channel thus making navigation
hazard," a Coast Guard official said.

The Directorate General of Shipping has initiated an
investigation into the incident, Directorate General of
Shipping`s Chief Nautical Advisor M M Savvi said, adding
"the Coast Guard and senior officials (Directorate General of
Shipping) are now at the site".

According to officials, Chitra was carrying about 1,200
containers which had over 266 tonnes of fuel. "Nearly 250
containers have fallen into the sea after the ship tilted
further to 75 degrees today," the official said.

Deputy Police Commissioner Khaled Qaiser said that
an FIR has been registered against captains and crew members
of both the cargo ships under relevant sections of IPC and
Environment Protection Act. Following a complaint by coast
guard about the matter, the FIR was registered at Yellow Gate
police station, he said.

The crew members were booked under Section 280 (Rash
navigation of vessel), 336 (endangering life of others) and
427 (mischief causing damage) of IPC and relevant sections of
Environment Protection Act, he said.

So far nobody has been arrested, the DCP said, adding
that all the crew members will be summoned to the police
station for questioning in a day or two.

Additional Coast Guard Pollution Response Equipment has
also been mobilised from Goa and assistance is also being
taken from ONGC, JNPT and other agencies.

The state administration, Pollution Control Board,
Maharashtra Maritime Board and the Bombay History Natural
Society have been kept on high alert for mobilisation of
response resources for shore clean-up.

Thirty-three crew members, including two Pakistanis,
were rescued following the incident.

MSC Chitra, the outbound merchant vessel from
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), collided with MV
Khalijia-III, at 09:50 hours yesterday when the latter was
sailing towards Mumbai Port Trust (MPT), off Mumbai harbour,
for berthing.

The Indian captain and 32 crew members of Chitra were
evacuated and the ship was grounded in the vicinity of the
Prong Reef Lighthouse.


First Published: Monday, August 9, 2010 - 00:21
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