The committee appointed by the shipping ministry to examine the inquiry report into the collision between MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia in August last year, which resulted in the worst oil spill in the Arabian sea has, in its 18 recommendations, suggested measures for better co-ordination between different agencies and implementation of safety measures.
The committee constituted under Captain PVK Mohan has suggested to the ministry that a VTMS (vessel traffic management system) authority under the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) should be made which would include the entire pilot from MbPT and JNPT.
The report said the VTMS authority should man the entire distance of the navigation channel for better co-ordination.
The committee has also added that the Certificate of Competence of the captains of the ships involved in the collision should be suspended.
Among the 18 suggestions are also upgradation of qualification of operators and supervisors of the VTMS, modernisation of features such as guard-range, and a third-party audit of navigational safety in ports.
Rakesh Srivastava, joint secretary, ministry of shipping, told HT that the committee had also recommended frequent safety audits of navigation channels.
“The committee has also said vessels aged more than 25 years should be banned from entering Indian ports. We have approved the recommendations,” Srivastava said.
The other suggestions of the committee include the constitution of an independent casualty investigation agency which will report to the shipping ministry, forming a suitable authority to ensure proper co-ordination among various agencies to tackle emergency situations like collision, and the extension of the scope of the navigational safety committee in ports to mandatorily cover all major ports.
“All ports have been given instructions to review navigational safety by the Navigational Safety Committee, which is now defunct at most ports, to review contingency planning in the crisis management plan and to install pollution control equipment,” Srivastava added.