Probe into ship mishap

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  • Published 26.09.09

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 26: A high-level expert team from the shipping ministry headed by National Shipping Board chairman Captain P.V.K. Mohan today visited Paradip to investigate the cause of sinking of Mongolian cargo vessel, MV Black Rose.

Paradip port sources said the five-member expert team discussed with port officials and stevedores about the possible cause of the capsize. They also held discussions with coast guard and state pollution control board about the extent of the oil spill. However, the team did not divulge the details of the discussion and findings to the media.

The visit of the expert team assumes significance in the wake of reports of oil spill and the concern of the environmentalists over the threat to the marine environment, especially to Olive Ridley sea turtles.

“Oil can have subtle and long-lasting negative effect like impacting the fish stock. Oil can also bio-accumulate up through the food chain as predators, including human beings, eat fish that have sub-lethal amounts of oil in their bodies. Fishermen have already reported thousands of dead fish and crustaceans after the spill,” said Greenpeace India’s ocean campaign manager, Sanjiv Gopal

Paradip port authorities had sought the shipping ministry’s intervention following reports of oil spill from the ship that could pose a danger to marine life. MV Black Rose, which had sunk in the sea 6km off Paradip on September 9, had 924 tonnes of furnace oil. The port authorities said 900 tonnes of the oil were in semi-solid state and safe. But, there were negligible amount of oil leakage from the engine room.

Meanwhile, Paradip Port Trust has floated two tenders to prevent oil spill from the sunken ship and take out the stocked oil from it. The owners and managers of the vessel, on the other hand, are reportedly not coming forward either for removal of oil or salvaging the wreck. “They have taken a stand that they are not in a position to take up any action,” said a port official.

Legal action is being initiated by the port trust against the owners/managers of the vessel for their denial to take up the salvage operation.