Oil spill off Mumbai coast, Qatar-based co be made party: NGT



New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed a Qatar-based shipping enterprise to be made a party in the case of oil spill caused after a cargo vessel sank off coast of Mumbai in 2011.

Panama-flagged MV Rak, which sank 20 nautical miles off the South Mumbai coast in the Arabian Sea on August 4, 2011, was owned by Delta Navigation whose parent company is Delta Group International. Delta Shipping Marine Services SA, earlier believed to be the owner of the ship, had only insured it.

The NGT bench headed by its chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar passed the order on a petition filed by Samir Mehta, a Mumbai-based environmentalist, who has sought compensation for damages caused to the marine ecology due to the oil spill.

"After hearing counsel for the parties at some length, we are of the considered opinion now that Delta Navigation is stated to be owner of the vessel. Counsel also stated that he had downloaded certain documents which shows that Delta Navigation is the owner of the vessel and parent company is Delta Group International. However, the vessel was insured by Delta Shipping Marine Services SA.

"In view of the above, Delta Navigation is also a necessary party to this proceeding. We direct the impleadment of Delta Group International as respondent no 11," the bench, also comprising judicial member Justice P Jyothimani, said and fixed the matter for further hearing on March 18.

Earlier, the NGT had issued notices to Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Maharashtra government and Mumbai Maritime Board on the plea alleging that environmental damages were caused due to the dumping of 60,000 metric tonnes of coal from the ship into the sea.

Adani Enterprises, to whom the coal was to be delivered for a thermal plant in Gujarat, is also a party in the case.

The ship had carried around 290 tonnes of fuel oil in its tank, 50 tonnes of diesel on-board and 60,000 metric tonnes of coal for Adani Enterprises Ltd's thermal power plant at Dahej in Gujarat.

PTI