Oil spill under control, says Chavan

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Mumbai, Aug 10 (ANI): Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Tuesday said no fresh leakage has been reported from the sinking Panamanian vessel off the Mumbai coast, adding that the clean up operation would continue to neutralize the affects of the oil spill in the region.

"From yesterday morning the seepage or the leakage of the oil into the sea has totally stopped, that is the information given to me by the Indian coast guards, that is the latest. Whatever oil is still inside the ship. Around 500 metric tones of oil was spilled into the sea," said Chavan.

"The spraying operation by the coast guards and private vessels also is being done in that vicinity to neutralize the effect of the oil, which has spread on some areas of the sea. But since yesterday morning they have been able to plug, stop that leakage and whatever is still reaming inside the vessel is to be evacuated and that exercise probably will start by August 13," he added after his meeting with the Indian Coast Guards here.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh today informed the Parliament that the Mumbai port, which was shut down after the collision, will resume normal operations by Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation as well as State Departments in Raigad District have advised people not to consume fish for some time, as they might be contaminated due to the oil spill.

The coastal districts of Maharashtra have been put on alert as the oil slick has spread to Alibaug and Uran areas, and also close to Elephanta caves amid concerns that it may also damage the rich mangrove belt along the coastline.

Earlier on Monday, a team of experts from Singapore arrived here to limit the damage of the oil spill, as the Indian Navy and Coast Guard personnel made frantic efforts to contain the leak.

The traffic at the harbour was partially suspended here on Monday 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.

The Directorate General of Shipping has initiated an investigation into the incident. By Rina Chaurasia (ANI)

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