Oil spill stops, damage remains
Damaged cargo ship MSC Chitra lies in the Arabian Sea off the Mumbai...
The oil spill off the Mumbai coast stopped on Monday evening after two fuel tanks of the Panamanian ship MSC Chitra that had developed a breach finished emptying its contents into the sea, but authorities said they were worried about the oil slick seen near Colaba, Uran, Mandwa and Rewas and containers on-board that held hazardous chemicals.
While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the shipping ministry for a report on the spill, the state government decided to call in foreign experts to contain the damage and said it would assess the damage to marine ecology along the Mumbai, Raigad and Thane coastline.
Almost 879 metric tonnes of oil had leaked out from the two tanks, Coast Guard officials said.
The ship, which ran aground and titled dangerously after colliding with another cargo ship MV Khalijia-111 on Saturday, had eight fuel tanks in all and carried 2,662 metric tonnes of oil.
Chemical dispersants were sprayed on the surface of the water on Monday to contain the spill, and six Coast Guard ships, three helicopters and two aircraft carried out disaster management operations in the 1.6-km area around the ship.
"Depending on the tide and the wind, the spill may reach our coasts. Right now, we hope it does not. There are reasons for concern. We don't want to be alarmist, but it is better to be cautious," Maharashtra Environment Minister Suresh Shetty said.