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Oil spill spreads near Mumbai

08-10-2010 11:04 BJT

MUMBAI, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Large scale efforts continued on a war-footing Monday to combat the oil spill from a Panaman ship that crashed into another vessel in Mumbai harbor.

Last week, Panaman cargo carrier MSC Chitra and a St. Kitts- registered ship MV Khalijia-III collided outside the Mumbai harbor, barely five km from south Mumbai, causing massive oil spill.

Officials here said that it continued to threaten to spread further along the Konkan coastline.

A Chetak helicopter and a small Dornier aircraft were pressed into service for aerial spray of dispersants to tackle the thick oil slick.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who undertook aerial survey of the area, said the oil spill was a "serious issue".

"We are trying to contain the leak as far as possible. This is a serious issue. We have already filed cases against the captains of the two ships which are from abroad," he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has intervened and asked for a report from the Union Shipping Ministry on the oil spill.

Hectic efforts continued to combat the oil spill spanning around two miles in the Arabian Sea.

Also the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) has been alerted by the Coastguard to stop using sea water for cooling down purposes.

The authorities here deployed five Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ships, one helicopter and one small aircraft for controlling the massive oil spill.

The affected ship, MSC Chitra, was loaded with an estimated 2, 600 tonnes of oil, 300 tonnes of diesel and 89 tonnes of lubricating oil at the time of the accident.

The ship has also dangerously tilted at nearly 70 degrees and nearly 30 huge containers have so far fallen off into the sea.

In view of the serious hazard the floating containers pose to vessels navigating in the area, the shipping traffic has been kept on hold.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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