Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
August 08, 2010 (CUOPM)
Crew members were rescued from two merchant ships after they collided off the coast of Mumbai, India on Saturday.
The St. Kitts and Nevis flagged MV Khalijia was rammed by the Panama-registered MSC Chitra and the coast guard recued 33 crew members from the two ships.
International media reports sate that following the collision, the container vessel MSC Chitra tilted sharply and got grounded near Prongs Reef Lighthouse, located four nautical miles off Colaba in south Mumbai. The Coast Guard officials attributed the oil spill to the ship’s tilt.
While Mundra Port-bound MSC Chitra was carrying cargo containers, MV Khalijia was loaded with 30,000 tons of steel coils. Traffic at Mumbai harbour was suspended after the collision.
On receiving an alert about the mishap, the Regional Operational Centre of the Indian Coast Guard swiftly rushed its ship Kamala Devi to rescue the sailors in the affected merchant vessels.
“As of now, 33 crew members have been safely evacuated by the Coast Guard ship and Tug Vamsee-III. No casualty has been reported,” a Defence Ministry spokesperson, Capt. M Namibia, said.
According to Capt. Nambiar, there is oil spillage in and around the area where MSC Chitra is grounded. “We have a reason to believe that oil spill might have taken place due to leakage of diesel from MSC Chitra. The Coast Guard has deployed a helicopter and ship to contain the spill and also control pollution in the area,” he said.
Saturday’s incident was the second occasion during the past three weeks when MV Khalijia-3 was involved in a mishap off the Mumbai harbour. On July 19, the same vessel carrying a cargo of steel coils was grounded off Mumbai’s coast, after water entered its holds through a leak.