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No Threat From Oil Spill to Juhu coast, Says Govt

PTI 07 Aug 2011, 22:48:00 IST

Mumbai, Aug 7: Cargo vessel MV Rak which sank off Mumbai three days ago is leaking oil and Coast Guard ships sprayed dispersants today to contain the oil spill which has spread to about seven nautical miles around the ship.

”Since last night, oil has been observed leaking from the sunken vessel Rak Carrier at an approximate rate of 1.5 to 2 tonnes per hour. The oil has spread about 7 nautical miles around the vessel,” a Defence press release said.

A Coastguard ship Samudra Prahari used oil dispersant to neutralise the spilled oil. The operation ‘Paryavaran Suraksha' has been launched by Coast Guard. Another vessel ICGS Sankalp has also been pressed into service for augmenting the oil spill response, the release added.

The 740-foot vessel was estimated to be carrying 325 tonnes of fuel oil and 56 tonnes of diesel, the coast guard said.

Amid ecological concerns over the oil spill, the Maharashtra government denied reports that the oil leak from the vessel had reached the city beach and maintained there is no threat to Mumbai coast.

The government claimed that the spill on the Juhu coast is a localised phenomenon and not due to the RAK spill.

“On physical inspection, it is revealed that there is furnace oil off the Juhu coast at certain locations...the oil content is about 1 to 2 mgs per litre which is negligible”, a press note released by the government said.

The state government further said it has issued an advisory to fishermen not to venture in that area where RAK has sunk till August 15.

“There is no imminent threat to Mumbai coast”, the release said.

“Two Coast Guarrd ships are on location to handle the spread of the spill and the Coast Guard has already used 600 litres of aerial dispersants to contain the spread”, the release added.

MV Rak which was on its way from Indonesia's Tutung to Dahej in Gujarat with 60,000 tonnes of coal, had a 30-member crew of Indonesian, Jordanian and Romanian nationalities, who were rescued by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard personnel before it sank on August 4.

The Directorate General of Shipping convened a meeting with Coast Guard, principal officers of Mercantile Marine Department and state government agencies to take stock of the situation.

“The Coast guard shall be reviewing the situation tomorrow to decide if coordinated efforts from other resource agencies is necessary,” an official release said.

“The local correspondent of Protection and Indemnity club stated that the vessel (MV RAK) was having valid insurance cover against pollution damage”, the release added. PTI