The Jawaharlal Nehru Port at Mumbai, India’s busiest container port, closed Monday morning following a collision between two vessels on Saturday that left hundreds of containers floating in the sea.
The MSC Chitra, a container ship operated by Mediterranean Shipping Co., lost at least 400 boxes overboard and is almost lying on its side in the Arabian Sea.
The vessel was also leaking fuel after colliding with the Khalijia 3, and the Indian Coast guard was having difficulty preventing bunker fuel from spilling into the water because the vessel was listing 75 degrees on its port side.
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A police constable with the marine unit of the city police died this morning after he fell off a speed boat while patrolling near the MSC Chitra.
The victim, Ramesh Tukaram More, and three other constables were patrolling in a speed boat in the early morning hours Monday around 1.5 nautical miles from the Chitra when he fell off the boat after losing control.
The Indian Navy was to undertake an inspection Monday morning to determine if operations can resume at nearby Mumbai Port, which is also closed, said Rahul Asthana, chairman of Mumbai Port Trust.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Port shutdown “will have a big impact on congestion and vessel movements,” said Ramesh Singhal, chief executive officer of i-Maritime Consultancy, which advises shipping lines and ports. How much disruption it causes will depend on how long it takes to clear the shipping channels, he said.
The government of the state of Maharashtra said Monday it will file suit against the owners and staff of the MSC Chitra and the Khalijia 3.
The MSC Chitra, built in 1980, has the capacity to carry 2,314 containers.
The Khalijia 3, a dry bulk vessel, has been berthed and is in no danger of sinking, said an official from the ship’s Kuwaiti owner Gulf Rocks Co., who declined to be identified citing company policy. The ship had been chartered out and was carrying cargo, said the official, without elaboration.
Mumbai Port originally closed after the crash two days ago, re-opened for smaller vessels and then shut again last night, Asthana said.
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