National Green Tribunal has issued notices to Union of India, Maharashtra Government, Maharashtra Maritime Board, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, M/s Delta Shipping Marine Services, Qatar and Adani Enterprise Limited (AEL) to file affidavits in the matter of sinking of Panama flagged Cargo Ship MV Rak Carrier carrying on board 60,000 tonnes of coal for AEL.
The ship was headed to Gujarat from Indonesia. It sunk near Mumbai coast. Following this notice damages will have to ascertained amidst violation of national and international laws and filed in the coming days before the Tribunal in the Case No.24/2011.
The Directorate General of Shipping, at about 0800 hours, received information from Mumbai Port on 4th August, 2011 that MV Rak Carrier type Bulk Carrier, Flag Panama, built in 1984, manned with 30 crew (Indonesian, Jordanian, Romanian) on board was observed to be adrift 20 miles off from Prongs Reef Light House located at the entrance of Mumbai Harbour, since 4th August, 2011 early hours of morning.
This vessel was on her voyage from Lubuk Tutung (Indonesia) to Dahej (Gujarat) having cargo of 60054 MT cargo of Coal on board reported ingress of water. This vessel is owned and managed by M/s. Delta Shipping Marine Services, Qatar and classed with Lloyds Register of Shipping. The exact quantity of fuel oil and diesel oil remained to be verified.
The Directorate in the capacity of Maritime Assistance Service had requested the Indian Coast Guard to render immediate assistance to this vessel in distress. The report received from the Coast Guard and ETV on 4th August, 2011 at around 1330 hours indicated that ¾ length of the vessel (Overall length about 225 meters) had already been submerged.
The flag administration had also been notified of this shipping casualty. The Directorate, under the provisions of Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 section 356 J & K had issued statutory notice to the ship owner, ship manager and the local ship agent. Directorate General of Shipping had already ordered statutory enquiry into this incident, and had said that it would request the flag state to investigate under the prevailing International law.
These cases of vessels like MV Rak must not be seen in isolation. It needs to be looked at as part of acts of omission and commission by shipping companies in the Indian waters who wish to escape liability in various disguises in order to safeguard nation's ecological security.
The matter came for hearing before the Tribunal's Chairperson's Bench of Hon'ble Shri Justice L.S Panta Chairperson and Hon'ble Shri Vijai Sharma, Expert Member at Van Vigyan Bhawan, Sector-V, R K Puram, New Delhi.
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)