Indian Navy, Coast Guard making frantic efforts as Mumbai oil slick spreads

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Mumbai, Aug 9 (ANI): The Indian Navy and Coast Guard are making frantic efforts to contain the oil leak following the collision of two cargo ships off the Mumbai coast, which has entered its third day today, and is spreading fast and thick.

"Six ships and a helicopter with anti pollution disposal spray systems have been put on the job to contain the oil spill," said a Coast Guard official.

"Fishing associations have been also requested not to carry out any fishing activities till the oil spill is contained," he added.

It has been reported that traffic at the harbour has been partially suspended as a precaution following the fall of around 200 oil containers from the MSC Chitra, an outbound merchant vessel from Navi Mumbai, after a collision with another vessel, the MV Khalijia-III on Saturday.

"MSC Chitra has tilted 80 degrees and the total oil spill is nearly 50 tonnes. So far, 300 containers carrying oil have tumbled into the water," said Arun Singh, Commandant (Operations), Coast Guard.

There are reports that a high-level meeting has been called to assess the situation and discuss the steps that should be taken to bring the situation under control.

Officials of Maharashtra Government Environment Department, National Disaster Response Force, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Shipping Department, Mumbai Port Trust and other concerned agencies are expected to attend the meeting.

The Directorate General of Shipping has initiated an investigation into the incident.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan expressing concern over the issue said all efforts are being made to contain the leak.

"This is a serious issue. We have already filed cases against the captains of the two ships, which are from abroad. Today, I am going to have an aerial look at the accident site. We are trying to contain the leak as far as possible," he added.

Mumbai Port Trust chairman Rahul Asthana, however, said the spill was not major, but admitted that the position of the MSC Chitra was 'dangerous'. (ANI)

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