Three containers with hazardous substances such as pesticides and chemicals are missing from the deck of the ship, MSC Chitra.
At least 350 containers fell into the sea after the cargo vessel collided with another ship, Khalijia-III, on August 7. Officials believe the three containers could have sunk to the seabed.
Chief Secretary J.P. Dange on Monday admitted that some of the hazardous containers could have possibly tipped into the sea.
“It is difficult to pinpoint the exact location because they don’t rest at the same position. But some of the 31 [hazardous] containers have not been accounted for,” he said.
Officials said there’s no reason to worry, though.
“There is no fear of leakage if they have sunk. They will be retrieved,” said state environment secretary Valsa Nair Singh.
The Directorate General of Shipping is learnt to have informed the state government that 27 of these 31 containers have been located on the ship. Of the remaining four, environment officials said one floated ashore at Raigad.
The last three could be at the bottom of the sea.
The containers hold organo phosphates used in agriculture and vector control and solid sodium hydroxide. Of the containers spilt into the sea, Dange said 100 floating containers have been retrieved and 150 are still to be removed.
Meanwhile, the environment department has invited experts from the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation to oversee the shore-cleaning operations.
The TERI has also offered indigenously developed bio-remediation technology and has been asked to submit a proposal. The clean-up costs will be borne by the two shipping companies involved in the collision.