Shatrughan worried at possible marine pollution

Shipping Minister Shatrughan Sinha today expressed concern at possible marine pollution in the Bay of Bengal following the grounding of an Indonesian cargo vessel, 35 nautical miles off Sagar Islands.

india Updated: May 17, 2003 12:43 IST

Shipping Minister Shatrughan Sinha today expressed concern at possible marine pollution in the Bay of Bengal following the grounding of an Indonesian cargo vessel, 35 nautical miles off Sagar Islands.

Sinha who arrived at Haldia to hold a review meeting of the Haldia dock complex as well as the Kolkata Port, said the vessel was carrying about 5,300 tonne of soda ash and 150 tonne of diesel.

Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) sources said that the minister was keeping in touch with the port authorities about the grounded vessel.

Meanwhile, KoPT sources said that the ship, which ran aground after developing a leak on its bow yesterday evening, was now anchored near Sagar Islands.

Sources said that there was little danger as the ship was grounded in shallow waters. "There is very little possibility of marine pollution right now," Capt A K Bagchi, Director of the marine department of KoPT, said.

With the weather improving in the bay, Port Trust authorities would take measures to tow out the vessel, the sources said.

Coast Guard Commander R K Wadhwa told PTI over phone from Haldia that while all the 22 crew members of the Indonesian ship were rescued by MV 'Harsha', the vessel's Kolkata agent has been called to unload the ship as early as possible.

A Coast Guard Dornier aircraft was circling the area to keep watch on the grounded ship, he added.

First Published: May 17, 2003 12:43 IST