Maritime activity resumes five days after collision (Lead)August 12th, 2010 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, Aug 12 (IANS) Five days after two ships collided near the Mumbai harbour, leading to a massive oil spill, maritime activity resumed Thursday with the help of the Indian Navy, an official said.
The Indian Navy, under its Operation Pathfinder at the Mumbai harbour, Thursday escorted 13 ships going in and out of the two ports, Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).
These included five outgoing and three incoming merchant vessels to the MPT and two outgoing and three incoming to the JNPT, the official said.
The escort comprised four ships of the Indian Navy, two Chetak helicopters for providing aerial escort and three specialized survey boats equipped with sonar sensors to trace out sunken containers that had littered the Mumbai harbour.
The sunken containers fell from the Panamanin cargo carrier, MSC Chitra after its collision with a St. Kitts-flagged vessel, MV Khalijia-III, just outside the Mumbai harbour last Saturday.
“The Indian Navy’s Operation Pathfinder has ensured the opening of the Mumbai port and movement of goods, preventing major damage to the country’s economy and losses to the ports,” the official added.
Incidentally, the Operation Pathfinder was the outcome of a two-day long planning operation called ‘Operation Raasta Saaf’ which was finally implemented Thursday.
The operation is expected to continue for the next few days till there is no danger to any maritime activity in the Mumbai harbour.
The approximate 200-metres wide, 11 m deep and a couple of km long main shipping channel of Mumbai harbour, which provides entry-exit to the MPT, JNPT and the naval harbour, had been rendered dangerous due to the nearly 20 floating or sunken containers which fell from MSC Chitra after the collision.
The Operation Pathfinder showed the incoming path to ships, ContiAsia, Taban 1, Golden Fareast (all to JNPT), Fushimi, BBL Austria and DD Vigilant (all to MPT).
It guided out of the Mumbai harbour ships Zembra and Annapurna Express (both from JNPT), Yasa Pembe, BBL Spain, HAL Pendant, Calmy Coral and Nand Hazira (all from MPT).
On Wednesday, the Indian Navy’s survey vessel, INS Yamnua, launched a survey of the entire shipping channel leading to and from the two main ports to trace out sunken containers.
By evening, it had managed to identify the location of three containers lying underwater and prominent markers were installed there to warn all vessels in the vicinity, the official said.
On an average, Mumbai harbour handles the entry and exit of around 35 huge ships daily, besides scores of smaller vessels and defence ships through the main shiping channel.
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Tags: cargo carrier, chetak, chitra, entry exit, fareast, flagged vessel, fushimi, indian navy, jawaharlal nehru, jawaharlal nehru port, jawaharlal nehru port trust, maritime activity, massive oil spill, merchant vessels, mpt, operation pathfinder, saaf, shipping channel, sonar sensors, two ships