Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Monitoring Oil Spill from the Sunken MV Princess Miral Merchant Vessel, which sank on Thursday
Mangaluru: Princess Miral ran aground five nautical miles off the city on Tuesday, and had 15 Syrian crew members, who were rescued by the Indian Coast Guard. The merchant vessel, Princess Miral, which ran aground five nautical miles off the city on Tuesday following damage to its hull, sank on Thursday near Batpady. Coast Guard personnel had rescued 15 Syrian marine crew as they abandoned the vessel following ingress of water on Tuesday. The foreign-flagged merchant vessel ran aground off Ullal near here on June 21. The 90-m-long and 30-m-wide vessel was carrying 8,000 tonnes of steel coil from Tianjin in China to Beirut in Lebanon. All the crew members are found to be carrying valid travel documents, as per police.
Dr Rajendra, who heads the District Disaster Management Committee, appointed on Thursday Karnataka Coast Guard Commander and Deputy Inspector-General S.B. Venkatesh as Incident Commander to take steps for preventing likely oil spill from the sunken vessel. The DC had chaired a meeting of the Disaster Management Committee in which all stakeholders, including those from New Mangalore Port Authority (NMPA), Coast Guard, and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, participated.
“Coast Guard is the nodal agency that handles oil spills and other environmental impacts resulting from incidents in the deep sea. Hence, we appointed Com Venkatesh as Incident Commander. The preliminary survey is being conducted by a private agent (Smith, an expert company from Singapore) to decide how to de-fuel the vessel and what to do with the ship,” said DC. Dr Rajendra also said that it has been submitted that the agency associated with the merchant vessel has dispatched personnel to the spot to remove furnace and engine oil from the sunken vessel and prevent a possible oil spill.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Karnataka Coast Guard Commander and Deputy Inspector-General S B Venkatesh said, ” The Coast Guard is using six vessels and two aircraft in its effort to check marine pollution in case of an oil spill from the submerged foreign vessel, MV Princess Miral. Two vessels from local resource agencies are also being used. The damaged and submerged vessel is reported to be carrying 220 tonnes of fuel on board. The Coast Guard is coordinating with the state administration, pollution control board, New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) to prevent any threat of large-scale oil spill from the sunken vessel”.
“Only a minor sheen of oil assessed to be from engine bilges and dirty water tanks has been observed so far. To achieve sustained operations, a specialised pollution control vessel, ICGS Samudra Pavak, has sailed from Porbandar and has reached the spot. The entire area is being continuously monitored for any marine pollution eventuality. An oil spill is unlikely. But we are preparing for the worst likely scenario,” added Com Venkatesh.
He further said, “Indian Coast Guard has launched preventive measures towards Marine Pollution as the vessel is reported to be carrying more than 220 metric tons of fuel onboard. Indian Coast Guard being the Central Co-coordinating Agency for Marine Pollution Response in India, is coordinating with various stakeholders viz State administration, State Disaster Management Authority, State Pollution Control Board, New Mangalore Port Authority, Mangalore refinery and petrochemicals Ltd etc. to prevent any threat of large scale oil spill from the vessel. So far, only a minor sheen of oil, assessed to be from engine bilges and dirty water tanks has been observed”.
Neighbouring Kasaragod district (Kerala) has also been alerted about the incident. The Department of Fisheries has been asked to alert fishermen against undertaking fishing around the area where the vessel has sunk. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has been directed to test samples of seawater at regular intervals. NMPA and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) have been told to help KSPCB officials in this connection. All departments have been asked to be on the alert and told of the steps that need to be taken in consultation with the Coast Guard if any oil spill is seen on the coast and in the river.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard completed questioning the crew members and handed them over to the Coastal Security Police and Mangaluru City Police. The 15 crew members were lodged in a guesthouse in the city and then sent to the foreigners’ detection centre in Nelamangala, Bengaluru, from where they will be deported.
Towards this, the Indian Coast Guard has deployed 06 vessels, and 02 Dornier aircraft in PR configuration along with 02 vessels from local resource agencies for monitoring, mapping and combating the oil spill in the area. In order to achieve sustained operations, a specialized pollution control vessel, ICGS Samudra Pavak was sailed from Porbandar which will be arriving in the early morning of 25 Jun 22. The entire area is being continuously monitored for any marine pollution eventuality.
Indian Coast Guard continues to monitor the situation around the grounded merchant ship MV Princess Miral of New Mangalore for any probable leakage of oil from the ship. The State Administration along with other stakeholders is also being coordinated for shoreline cleanup in case of any oil spill.
Constant surveillance has been undertaken by Coast Guard aircraft and ships in the area around the vessel and onshore for pollution response since 21 Jun 22. A fully equipped Pollution Control Vessel, ICGS Samudra Pavak from Porbandar, arrived today morning off New Mangalore and joined the Pollution Response operation at sea along with ICG ships and aircraft.
As of date, 9 ships of Coast Guard and resource agencies, 3 Coast Guard aircraft are on task for assessment and monitoring of the sea area of New Mangalore. These assets are continuing the necessary preventive measures. Netravati river is in close proximity to the vessel which is grounded close to shore therefore as a precautionary measure the river mouth has been barricaded from the seawards side using inflatable booms so as to prevent containment of the river in case of any leakage of oil from the ship.
Coast Guard Pollution Response team and experts are continuously analyzing the situation and also assisting State Administration and New Mangalore Port Authorities by conducting Pollution Response and shoreline cleanup training sessions and mock drills.