NGT slaps Rs 100 crore penalty in the 2011 oil spilling case

MUMBAI(PTI0: Five years after the shipping carrier -M V Rak sank 20 nautical miles off the South Mumbai coast in the Arabian Sea causing marine pollution, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday slapped Rs100 crore penalty on the Qatar-based Delta Navigation as “environmental compensation” for dumping the cargo in the sea and then failing to take any precautionary measures.

The Tribunal also imposed Rs5 crore on Adani Enterprises Ltd to whom 60,000 metric tonnes of coal was to be delivered for a thermal plant in Gujarat in the above said case.

“There was definite pollution of marine environment by the oil spill. The sunken ship along with its cargo caused pollution and is a continuous source of marine pollution. It needs to be removed from the seabed of the contiguous zone of the Indian water at the earliest..,” said the principal bench of NGT headed by justice Swatantra Kumar in a 223-page judgment.

Referring to international conventions, the NGT observed that, “no party from any country in the world has the right to sail an unseaworthy ship to the contiguous and exclusive economic zone of India.”

The NGT has also set up an eight member committee comprising of senior Central government officials and a senior scientist that will suggest the removal of the ship wreck and cargo from the present location. The Tribunal has directed the parties to remove the cargo within six months from the date of the submission of the report by the committee.

Holding Adani responsible for not lending any support to the ship, despite the fact that the cargo belonged to his company, the NGT said, “Respondents did not adhere to the principle of due diligence pre-voyage, for which they had sufficient means and time. The ship had developed mechanical and technical snags at Colombo and Singapore and the Master of the ship had asked for help there during its onward journey.”

Ship M V Rak , which was carrying coal, fuel oil and diesel, owned by Delta Navigation whose parent company is Qatar-based Delta Group International sank in Arabian sea on August Four, 2011.

The ship was carrying around 290 tonnes of fuel oil, 50 tonnes of diesel on-board and 60,000 metric tonnes of coal for Adani Enterprises Ltd’s Gujarat thermal power plant.