In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour

Updated: August 07, 2010 17:52 IST
Two merchant vessels collided this morning off the Mumbai coast resulting in an oil spill from one of the ships, Coast Guard officials said.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
A day after the oil slick of the Mumbai coast was capped, the focus has shifted to cleaning-up the oil spill and salvaging the ship MSC Chitra. A Singapore-based salvage company has arrived and surveys have begun.

MSC Chitra, the outbound cargo vessel from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), collided with MV Khalijia-III five nautical miles from the shores at 9:50 am on Saturday, August 7, 2010.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
The impact of the oil spill on the marine life can clearly be seen as far as Raigad, almost 10 Kms away from the disaster zone.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
Besides the oil spill that is spreading fast, drums filled with pesticide also detached from the MSC Chitra. The coastal areas have been on high alert.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
While the government is working towards a swift clean up, environmentalists fear it may be too late.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
Coast guards have said it will be tough to contain the oil spill because of tidal conditions.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
The environmental disaster will cause a navigation hazard due to the floating containers that came off the ship.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said that removing oil from the sea, the entire thing will take 45 days. He said comprehensive detailed investigation on damage on mangrove forest by Maharashtra Pollution Board be carried out.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
According to officials, MSC Chitra and Khalijia-III smashed with each other five nautical miles from the Mumbai shores at 9:50 am.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
Sources say the two ships were not communicating at the same frequency.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
Clean up work has been on at the site while the Mumbai port is currently shut for business.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
Sources say that both the cargo's did not have captains on board.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
The Director General of Shipping also ordered an inquiry into the incident.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said that the oil spill is of a serious concern and the government is trying its best to contain the damage. He has also warned against eating fish.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
The Maharashtra CM added that the coastguard and the defence personnel were looking into the matter and cases against the captains of the two ships have already been filed.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
The MSC Chitra tilted sharply under the impact, resulting in the oil spill. The other ship, Khalijia was at the harbour for over a fortnight for repair work when the collision took place.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
Ashok Chavan was scheduled to do an aerial survey of the affected site on Monday.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
The Mumbai Port is currently shut for business and fishermen have been asked not to go out.

The Maharashtra government is meeting with all forces involved in rescue efforts to assess the situation on Monday.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
Coast guards have said it will be tough to contain the oil spill because of tidal condition.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
And while the leak may have been plugged, going by the extent to which the slick has spread it will be a while before people can return to the seas for their livelihood.
In Pics: How ships collided near Mumbai Harbour
The key questions that need to be answered fast now are, Does India have the technology to deal with this sort of marine disaster?

Can the ship, which is broken, be welded where its leaking? Can the cargo be lifted off the ship and placed on barges to make the ship lighter and perhaps easier to refloat?

And the big question: Who will pay for the clean-up?

Environmentalist Bittu Sehgal says, "My fear is that the oil slick will enter the mangroves and mudflats and once that happens we can't do anything to clean it up."

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