A sand barge collided with a container that had floated off the MSC Chitra near Gharapuri Island off the Mumbai coast on Tuesday morning. Ten sailors aboard the barge fell into the sea, said sources, but were rescued by an Oil and Natural Gas Commission boat crew.
The container was among the 400-odd that fell into the sea from the Chitra which collided with another merchant vessel, MV Khalijia-III, on Saturday.
The sailors were taken to Belapur, where they were treated for minor injuries. The barge was tugged to Reti Bunder.
On Monday, nine containers were spotted floating near Uran.
Fearing that ships could collide with the floating containers, Mumbai Port shut operations and asked vessels not to venture out to sea on Monday.
"Any hard object floating in a channel that ships use is a navigational hazard. A container can pose a threat to ships sailing at night. Even if the container sinks, it is a threat," said Captain Manohar Nambiar, spokesperson for the Indian Navy.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Port Zone) Kaiser Khalid said the barge hit the container not far from the spot where the Chitra is marooned. Witnesses claimed some barge crew members jumped into the sea after the collision.
Kaiser said, keeping in mind the accident, a joint command of Navy, Coast Guard, Central Industrial Security Force and the police has been formed to undertake the salvage of containers. A naval ship will survey the floating containers before the salvage firms from Holland and Singapore fish them out. Until then, the channel has been closed for ships.