The two ships collided with each other off the city coast more than a month ago, but the fear of oil spill still looms over Mumbai, with fresh oil again being spotted along the coastline.
Satish Agnihotri, director general of shipping, told Hindustan Times on Wednesday that some quantity of oil was spilt on Monday as well as last week while attempts were being made to stabilise MSC Chitra.
“The fresh traces of oil that have been reported ashore is because of the oil spilt from the vessel,” said Agnihotri. The merchant vessel is said to have spilt two tonnes of oil.
“The layer of oil is not uniformly across the coastline. The fresh traces will not have a major consequence but we are taking it seriously and trying to clean it up,” said Valsa Nair Singh, state environment secretary.
Singh said officials are trying hard to prevent further spills. “Three smaller ships have been kept around the vessel so that when the oil is spilt, it can be contained in that area using dispersants,” said Singh.
Sources from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said experts from Singapore have been asked to study why tar balls and fresh oil is being washed ashore in the city and Goa and what can be done to clean
“Tar balls could be a result of several collisions in the past, including this one,” an MPCB official said, requesting anonymity. “The oil spilling from the hold of the ship could be a reason for the fresh traces.”
He added that tar balls spotted on the Goa coast should not be linked to the collision between the two merchant vessels, MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia-III, off the Mumbai coast on August 7.
Senior officials from the Directorate General of Shipping said that the vessel is currently stable at a 19-degree tilt and that more than 92 containers have been removed from its deck after a team went aboard the deck.