Coast Guard to fix oil leakage from MV Rak today



Coast Guard to fix oil leakage from MV Rak today Mumbai: Diving operation to identify and plug the oil leak from the sunk cargo vessel M V Rak are expected to begin Thursday.

The announcement was made by the Directorate General of Shipping said yesterday, even as Coast Guard assured that the spill has decreased considerably.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has been directed to make available a specialised diving support vessel to undertake the preliminary assessment of the leak, the DGS said in a statement.

The local protection and indemnity (P&I) correspondent has also been instructed to engage an expert diving supervisor to guide the diving operations which are likely to commence in the early hours of Thursday, it added.

"The expert divers would identify the source of leak and, whether it is practicable and possible to plug the leak to check the outflow," the DGS said, adding that sea and weather conditions will have to be favourable for diving operations.

The P&I correspondent has told the DGS that it has hired the services of Titan Salvage to de-bunker the remaining oil trapped in the bunker tanks, the statement said.

Additionally, it has also advised the P&I correspondent to seek the expertise of International Tanker Owner Pollution Federation (ITOPF), a non-Governmental organisation, to assist in the conduct of survey mapping of the affected areas and provide guidance to the concerned authorities including owner to deal with clean-up operations.

MV Rak sank 20 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast while on a voyage from Indonesia to Gujarat. It was reportedly carrying 60,000 tonnes of coal; more importantly 325 tonnes of fuel oil and 56 tonnes of diesel which is causing the environmental damage.

After going down to third of the peak-rate yesterday, the rate of oil leak showed an increase today apparently due to an increase in the speed of prevailing winds.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Maritime board has reported fresh small patches of oil traces on the Juhu beach and some tar balls at Gorai in north Mumbai, the DGS statement said; but a release from the Coast Guard said no fresh tar balls have been reported on beaches.

Coast Guard ships Varuna and Amrit Kaur continue to combat oil spill from sunken vessel M V Rak Carrier, the coast guard statement said, adding helicopters and Dornier aircrafts were also deployed in the effort.

PTI