The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has demanded for a National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan to be put in place following the oil spill off the city’s coast.
All ports are supposed to have a plan, which includes directions regarding implementation and co-ordination in case of an oil spill.
“In 1996, the Directorate of Operations, Coast Guard, sent a notice asking ports to form a contingency plan with help from the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), oil companies and the Coast Guard. In 2007, a Rs 26-crore plan was charted out, but the MOU has not been signed,” said Prakash Binsale, NCP’s state unit spokesman and former trustee of MbPT.
Binsale said the Coast Guard had identified Bharat Petroleum as the nodal agency from the oil industry that would co-ordinate, fund and establish a response set-up at the Mumbai port. “But we have got no response,” he said.
When quizzed about a disaster management plan during a press conference with Union Shipping Minister G.K. Wasan, a shipping official said the MbPT has a plan in place that was immediately put to use.
Binsale refutes this claim. “The MbPT’s plan is basic and can only be used for rescue operations such as saving passengers. We are not in a position to handle oil spills,” he said.