Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coast Guards failed to contain oil spills: MbPT hired Dutch Co. and experts from Singapore

To stop the spread of oil around Mumbai coastline, the Mumbai Port Trust hired a Netherland-based company, SMIT Salvage. Currently, the company is working with eleven vessels to control the spill. In addition, the Ministry of Shipping flew a team of experts from Singapore.

An MbPT official said, "We’ve appointed SMIT Salvage... The company is working there with 11 off-shore vessels out of which six vessels were received from Mumbai-based Great Offshore Ltd."

Unfortunately, India Coast Guards do not have necessary equipments or ships like those in the U.S. to contain oil spill. In 2009, Indian government ordered special ships to be built to contain oil spills and the first batch of ships will be deployed in Mumbai in October 2010. The ships are being constructed by the ABG Shipyard of Surat. Currently, they are undergoing modifications in Goa.

On August 7, 2010, two ships collided off the Mumbai coast. One of the ships, MSC Chitra, was carrying oil which tilted sharply upon impact and spilled oil into the coast. The coast guards are using anti-pollution dispersion spray system to stop the spread but it failed to stop the spread of oil.

The Coast Guard officials said that they would work hard to contain the spill because of the tidal conditions. They are searching for the leakage in MSC Chitra which was carrying over 2,860 tonnes of oil.

After the incident all operations in MbPT had been suspended and all coastal disctricts of Maharashtra have been put on high alert for the oil is spreading to the Alibaug and Uran areas and moving towards Elephanta caves. The Coast Guard and government agencies are worried that the oil will affect the mangrove belt along the coast line.

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