Divers to attempt plug oil leak from sunken ship

August 10th, 2011 - 11:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 10 (IANS) While oil continued to spill and spread from sunken cargo ship M.V. Rak Carrier off Mumbai, the maritime authorities Wednesday decided to requisition a specialised diving vessel and explore ways to plug the leak, an official said here.

The Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) has directed the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to provide a vessel to make a preliminary underwater assessment of the oil leakage from the sunken cargo carrier.

“The vessel is expected to reach the site of casualty Thursday morning for undertaking the assessment,” a DGS statement said Wednesday evening.

Representatives of Protection and Indemnity Club (which deals with insurance and related issues) have been ordered to engage an expert diving supervisor to undertake diving operations early Thursday.

The expert divers would, favourable sea and weather conditions permitting, identify the source of the leak and attempt to plug it if it possible and practical, the DGS said.

The club has also informed the DGS that they have identified Titan Salvage Company to de-bunker the remaining oil trapped in the tanks of the sunken vessel.

The DGS has also asked the club to seek help from the International Tanker Owner Pollution Federation (ITOPF), an NGO, to help conduct a survey of the affected areas and guide the concerned authorities to undertake coastal cleaning.

The Indian Coast Guard helicopters continued to conduct regular air sorties around the area from where oil is still spilling at the rate of around 8-10 tonnes per day.

The spread of the oil spill has covered a larger area, apparently due to increase in prevailing wind speeds.

Three coast guard vessels, including oil pollution response vessel Samudra Prahari, are positioned in the area to monitor the fallout of the oil spill, which has now spread to places like Juhu Beach in northwest Mumbai and Gorai Beach.

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