189 MSC Chitra containers missing
At least 189 containers that were on board the merchant vessel, MSC Chitra, are missing, eight of which contain hazardous material.mumbai Updated: Sep 17, 2010 02:08 IST
At least 189 containers that were on board the merchant vessel, MSC Chitra, are missing, eight of which contain hazardous material.
Of the eight containers, six had solid sodium hydroxide, one had organic pesticides and one had aluminum phosphate tablets, said the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), owners of MSC Chitra, which collided with another vessel, MV Khalijia-III, off the Mumbai coast on August 7.
“These containers have gone overboard and are missing,” said Captain Deepak Tiwari from MSC.
Officials from the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) said a team of specialised divers has been called to search for these missing containers, which may have sunk to the seabed and may be covered with a layer of sediment.
“None of these containers are in the main navigation channel so they do not affect port operations. They may be close to the vessel,” a DGS source said.
MSC Chitra was carrying 531 containers, of which 31 contained hazardous materials, and 3,300 tonnes of oil when the collision took place. Till date, 111 containers have been removed and there are more than 200 containers still on the deck.
Operations are on to lift the containers off the ship, and it will take at least one month to retrieve all of them.
Tiwari said the company has spent more than Rs 45 crore on clean-up operations along the state’s coastline. MSC officials also said they have paid Rs 1 crore as advance to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) for the initial clean-up operations and have to pay another Rs 2 crore.
Tiwari said the state environment department has directed them not to undertake clean-up operations of the damaged mangrove sites.
“The roots of the mangroves are not affected so they should be left alone so they can rejuvenate naturally. Carrying out cleaning operations will only damage them further,” said an MPCB official.
Tiwari said MSC is awaiting the DGS report after which it will decide what action needs to be taken against the owners of Khalijia-III.