Merchant ship with 20 crew members onboard may sink near Mumbai, and cause huge oil spill

Mumbai,Ateeq Shaikh: A merchant ship with 20 crew members onboard is in distress near Vasai in the Arabian Sea and may even result in oil pollution unless measures are taken immediately to plug the water ingress in it.

“Information has been received at around midnight that a vessel is in distress. The cargo vessel Jindal Kamakshi is currently at 40 nautical miles North West of Mumbai harbour or off 25 nautical miles from Vasai into sea,” confirmed Commander Rahul Sinha, Chief Public Relation Officer, Defence.

As per the message received by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard authorities, the merchant vessel is listed (tilted) heavily. Cause of listing has not been confirmed yet.

According to maritime agencies, till the crew members on the vessel are able to identify and stop the leak it may sink without much notice. There are 20 people on the ship who are making attempts to plug the leak on this six year old Indian flagged cargo vessel.

“One Sea King helicopter has been launched to provide immediate assistance in addition one ship has been sailed for rendering assistance. We have got in touch with the ship. Should the situation worsen, we will have to evacuate the sailors,” shared Cdr Sinha. On and above it, as a precautionary measure search and rescue assets have been kept on standby and situation is being monitored.

Due to inclement weather and choppy seas, ships often get into distress mode resulting in an alarming situation in Mumbai as there have been multiple incidents in the last few years of oil spills, vessels drifting ashore, collisions, etc.

The biggest incident was collision between MV Khalijia III and MSC Chitra that had occurred in August 2010. The aftermath had resulted in closure of Mumbai harbour as well as Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Mumbai Port Trust. Moreover, the containers had drifted as far as Uran apart from the oil spill.

The oil spill damaged the environment that was estimated by NEERI to be to the tune of Rs5,149.17 million or $358.1 million. NEERI’s report had stated that a total of 46,589 mangrove plants had died due to the spill and 6,27,117 mangrove plants were affected.