Even as scientists and marine ecology experts debate the impact of oil pollution on marine life, the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) has finally floated a tender to appoint an agency that will tackle oil spills of 700 tonnes and above. In accordance with the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOSDCP), all ports are required to maintain Tier-I Oil Spill Response (OSR) facilities.
The company that bags the Rs. 33-crore contract will have to set up a 24x 7 Oil Spill Response Center (OSRC) at Jawahar Dweep near Elephanta Island. It will also have to operate the facility four months after bagging the contract.
“We have floated the tender as per the NOSDCP and opened the contract for global agencies too,” said an MbPT official, on the condition of anonymity.
In the last two years, the city has witnessed two major oil spills. The collision between MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia led to an oil spillage of more than 800 tonnes. MSC Chitra was loaded with 2,600 tonnes of oil at the time of the accident.
Till now, the MbPT relied on the Coast Guard to tackle spills. There are three-tier systems to tackle an oil spill. Spillage of 700 or more tonnes of oil falls in tier-I, spillage of up to 10,000 tonnes in tier-II and spillage of more than 10,000 tonnes falls under tier-III. The Coast Guard is the central co-ordination authority to tackle marine pollution.