Local Indian government and port authorities served a joint notice to Mediterranean Shipping Co. demanding compensation for the oil-spill by the MSC Chitra and consequent ecological damage due to its collision Aug. 7 with the Khalijia 3, according the Press Trust of India.
The joint notice by the Maharashtra government, Mumbai Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust was delivered to MSC Tuesday, even as the Directorate General of Shipping was still investigating the mishap.
MSC said Aug. 10 the collision resulted because the Khalijia 3 was "significantly in error" under the rules of navigation.
The joint notice served Tuesday asked MSC to pay compensation because it has been identified as the polluter, state Transport Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said Tuesday after reviewing the ongoing salvage operations.
"We have sent a notice to the owners of MSC Chitra, whose collision with another cargo ship resulted in an oil slick off the Mumbai coast. They have been asked to pay full compensation for the mishap," Patil said.
He did not answer questions on the amount of compensation sought from the owners.
MSC Chitra collided with the Khalijia 3 off the Mumbai coast on the morning of Aug. 7. The collision holed the hull of the MSC Chitra, which began listing to port and spilling oil into the sea. An estimated 500 metric tons leaked into the sea and about 250 containers, including some carrying hazardous chemicals and pesticides, fell into the water.
Salvage operators have retrieved many of the containers, but some are still underwater.
Normal shipping activities have largely resumed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Mumbai Port, which were closed for four days last week following the collision.
The Indian Navy is escorting ships in and out of the two ports. In the past 10 days, it has helped pilot 63 ships out of the two harbors and escorted 71 ships in.
At present, vessels with a draft of more than 41 feet are not being allowed inside or outside the two ports because of the hazard of underwater containers.
On Tuesday nine more containers fell off the MSC Chitra, which remains grounded after it collided with the breakbulk vessel, Khalijia 3.
While four containers were retrieved by the concerned authorities, four of the missing containers are suspected to be loaded with sodium hydroxide and another with solid pesticides, posing a threat to sea and land pollution.
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