Mumbai could run out of fuel if shipping operations at the city’s two ports do not resume by Sunday.
Both the Mumbai Port Trust and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust stopped operations on Saturday after two vessels collided and MSC Chitra spilt 879 metric tonnes of oil in the sea.
Operations were halted as 250 containers slipped into the sea and are currently either floating in the sea or sinking into the seabed, posing a danger to vessels coming into and leaving the ports.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said on Tuesday fuel supply would be hit if the navigation channel were not cleared by Thursday or Friday.
The city’s refineries get 70 per cent of their total crude supply through imports.
Fuel shortage could affect the rest of Maharashtra as well as other states. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. have two of its biggest refineries in the city and supply petrol and diesel to other states too.
Chavan said the firms have crude stock to support operations at the Mumbai refineries for a few days. “But the situation may worsen after Sunday,” he said.
The Navy has been roped for help. State government officials said alternatively the oil firms would get crude oil from ONGC’s Bombay High and may also ask private vendors to increase crude supply.
Customs officials said the daily import duty loss is estimated at Rs 85 crore.