- SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
For causing oil spill when a cargo vessel sank off Mumbai coast
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday directed a Panama-based shipping company and its two Qatar-based sister concerns to pay Rs. 100 cr as damages for causing an oil spill when a cargo vessel sank off Mumbai coast in 2011.
Fined for adversely affecting the marine ecology, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar also ordered the Gujarat-based Adani Enterprises Ltd to pay Rs. 5 crore as environmental compensation for dumping in the seabed 60054 MT coal, being carried by the ship M V RAK, and polluting the marine environment.
The Bench, comprising Judicial Member U. D. Salvi, expert members A. R. Yousuf and Ranjan Chatterjee, said in its judgment that they are of the considered view that determined damages of Rs. 100 crore should be paid by and recovered from respondents — Republic of Panama’s Delta Shipping Marine Services SA, Qatar-based Delta Navigation WLL and Delta Group International. It observed that documents in favour of the ship were issued in a biased manner and the vessel was “not seaworthy,” right from the inception of its voyage.
It further said that Adani Enterprises Ltd is held liable to pay Rs. 5 crore as environmental compensation for dumping of the cargo in the sea and then failing to take any precautionary or preventive measures. “The consignment of 60054 MT of coal has caused marine pollution and continues to be a cause and concern for environmental pollution. The respondents are defaulting entities which have not complied with law and have adopted a most careless and reckless attitude in relation to protecting the marine environment,” the Bench noted.
The green court passed the verdict on a petition filed by Samir Mehta, a Mumbai-based environmentalist, who had sought compensation for damages caused to the marine ecology due to the oil spill.
The ship, which was sailing from Indonesia to Dahej in Gujarat, sank 20 nautical miles off the South Mumbai coast in the Arabian Sea on August 4, 2011.