Mumbai: The city police Sunday asked people to
avoid going to beaches after a cargo vessel which sunk off the
Mumbai harbour Thursday was found to be leaking oil.
Mumbai Commissioner of Police Arup Patnaik visited the Juhu beach
to check on the oil spill from the sunken vessel MV Rak Carrier.
"I appeal to the people not to go to the beach or enter the sea
waters to avoid getting affected by the oil spill," Patnaik said.
He said that he will ask marine and health department teams to
review the situation at Mumbai beaches, following which a decision
will be taken on public presence.
"I am not an expert in this field and hence cannot gauge the
seriousness of the effect of the spill. I have, however, called
for more policemen to man the beaches, especially Juhu beach," he
Patnaik, however, made it clear that there is no law and order
problem on beaches yet.
Earlier Sunday, a navy official said that oil has been observed
leaking at an approximate rate of 1.5-2 tonnes per hour from the
sunken vessel since late Saturday.
"Coast Guard ship Samudra Prahari, on patrol, immediately
responded and used oil spill dispersant to neutralise the spilled
oil. Operation 'Paryavaran Suraksha' has also been launched by the
Coast Guard," he added.
According to the official, an aerial recce conducted Sunday
morning indicated spread of oil up to seven nautical miles from
the sunken vessel.
The Coast Guard has pressed another vessel, ICGS Sankalp, in the
area, he added.
However, the coastal authorities have been advised to maintain
strict vigil. "State authorities have also been advised to direct
fishermen to refrain from fishing in the vicinity of the affected
area," the official said.
The ship MT Rak Carrier, laden with 60,000 tonnes of coal and 340
tonnes of fuel and diesel, sank Thursday afternoon, raising
apprehensions of an ecological hazard.
The 30 crewmen aboard -- all Indonesians, Jordanians and Romanians
-- were rescued in a coordinated effort by the Indian Navy and
Indian Coast Guard.
The Panama-flagged ship, owned and managed by M/s. Delta Shipping
Marine Services, Qatar, was on a voyage from Lubuk-Tutung in
Indonesia to Dahej port in Gujarat, carrying a consignment of coal
meant for Adani Enterprises Ltd.
Two top officials of the cargo vessel were Saturday arrested and
later released on bail by a Mumbai court.
The duo -- Jordanian Capt. Arkan Younis, 36, and Romanian chief
engineer Eonascho Eon, 54 -- were nabbed under the Indian Penal
Code (IPC) Section 336, pertaining to endangering life or personal
safety of others.