In a joint operation, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) along with the local police seized 21 drums that were found floating near the Mumbai and Raigad coasts. The drums contain Naphtha, a flammable liquid hydrocarbon.
Last Monday, the agency found two drums of 200 litres each at the beach near Versova. During a routine surveillance sortie of a helicopter on Saturday, a total of 12 drums containing 200 litres of hydrocarbon, were recovered at Revdanda. During another coastal reconnaissance on Sunday, seven such drums were discovered floating close to the coast of Shrivardhan.
The ICG is on vigil all the time as the western coast is a very important area. While patrolling on the vessels, they spotted the floating drums. They brought these drums on board and sent them for testing, said an ICG official. “During subsequent searches later on, the coast guard and police seized more drums and on testing it was found to be Naphtha,” he said.
“It might be that the drums may have fallen from a ship carrying the containers. It could also have fallen along any coast, even the gulf coast and then washed away to our seas,” said defence spokesperson commander Rahul Sinha, adding, “The content is flammable and may possess a risk of explosion. If anyone finds and tries to dump it, then it could be risky.”
The drums are old. “Prima facie, these iron drums are old and mostly corroded. Investigations are in progress by the ICG and the police to ascertain the origin of these drums. The ICG has also issued warnings to mariners for safe navigation,” read a statement from the ICG.