NGT fines ship-owners Rs 105cr for oil spill off city


A Panama-based shipping company and its two Qatar-based sister concerns were on Tuesday directed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to pay up Rs 100 crore as damages for causing an oil spill when a cargo vessel sank off the Mumbai coast in 2011, damaging marine ecology.

While asking the companies to pay environmental compensation (EC) to the ministry of shipping, a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar also ordered Gujarat-based Adani Enterprises Ltd to pay Rs five crore as EC for dumping 60,054 MT (million tonnes) of coal, being carried by the ship M V Rak, in the seabed and polluting the marine environment.

The tribunal asked the Republic of Panama's Delta Shipping Marine Services SA and Qatar-based Delta Navigation WLL and Delta Group International to pay Rs 100 crore to the ministry , observing that reports showed the documents in favour of the ship were issued in a biased manner and the vessel was “not seaworthy“, right from the inception of its voyage. It also held the respondents to be defaulting enti ties which had adopted the “most careless and reckless attitude“ in protecting the marine environment. “We are of the considered view that determined damages of Rs 100 crore should be paid by and recovered from respondents number 5, 7 and 11, jointly and severally while respondent number 6 is held liable to pay Rs 5 crore as environmental compensation for dumping of the cargo in the sea and then failing to take any precautionary or preventive measures. The consignment of 60054 MT of coal has caused marine pollution and continues to be a cause and concern for environmental pollution,“ the order stated.

The Panama-flagged MV Rak carrier sank nearly 20 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast on August 4, 2011. The ship was on its way from Indonesia to Dahej in Gujarat. The continuous trail of the oil leak from the vessel was observed up to 12 nautical miles and a considerable amount had reached the shoreline of Bandra, Gorai, 5-6 km stretch of Alibaug coast and also Juhu beach, where large oil patches were observed. The spilled fuel oil also travelled to Madh and Aksa beach.

Source: TOI

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