Mumbai, Aug 4: 30 crew members of a Gujarat-bound cargo ship were rescued today before the vessel carrying 60,000 tonnes of coal sank off the Mumbai coast this afternoon, sparking fears of environmental pollution.
“Panama-flagged M V Rak has sunk 20 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast due to ingress of water in the cargo hull. We suspect that some holes in the ship resulted in the seeping in of water,” Inspector General of Coast Guard SPS Basra told PTI.
The sinking of the 225 metre-long vessel which was carrying apart from coal about 290 tons of fuel oil and 50 tons of diesel has raised fears of an oil spill.
The Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) said it received information from the Mumbai port authorities at 0800 hours that the 1984-built vessel was “adrift” since the early hours of today at the entrance of the Mumbai harbour.
The ship, which was on its way from Indonesia's Tutung to Dahej in Gujarat, had a 30-member crew on board of Indonesian, Jordanian and Romanian nationalities, the DGS said in a statement.
All concerned agencies were pressed into service following the receipt of the call and help was also taken from private merchant ships, the DGS said, adding 18 of the crew were rescued by an Indian Navy chopper and the rest evacuated to a private merchant ship.
A Navy spokesman said that the Navy and the Coast Guard had swung into action immediately after receiving the distress signal from the ship.
As the ship was located at the entrance of the Mumbai Harbour, one of the busiest in the country, Mumbai Port and the National Hydrographic Officer have been advised to issue navigational warning so that the mariners are warned in advance of the danger, the DGS statement said. PTI