2017 Ennore oil spill: NGT orders more relief for one lakh fishermen

After several rounds of discussions and a Madras High Court order, a compromise was arrived at between the two shipping companies to pay Rs 240 crore compensation.

Published: 09th July 2022 06:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th July 2022 06:40 AM   |  A+A-

Effects of the oil spill on Chennai's shores

Effects of the oil spill on Chennai's shores. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: More than 1 lakh fishermen who were affected by the Ennore oil spill in 2017 will get additional compensation. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Tamil Nadu government to encash the bank guarantees deposited by two shipping companies and disburse the amount proportionately to the affected persons after deducting the amount spent on restoration measures.

"This may be overseen by a joint committee headed by the Principal Secretary of Fisheries, with the Director of Fisheries and the District Magistrate of Chengalpattu as members. The Director of Fisheries will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance. The committee will be at liberty to take assistance from any other individual/institution as may be found necessary for executing the work," the five-member NGT bench headed by Adarsh Kumar Goel said. 

The order was passed while disposing of four applications related to the collision of two cargo ships - MT BW Maple and MT Dawn Kancheepuram - near Kamarajar port on January 28, 2017, and the resultant damages caused.  

After several rounds of discussions and a Madras High Court order, a compromise was arrived at between the two shipping companies to pay Rs 240 crore compensation towards the claim of the State government.

Of the total amount, Rs 141 crore was deposited towards the claim of the fishermen and Rs 15 crore was reimbursed to the government for the interim compensation paid to fishermen and also environmental restoration projects. For the remaining, a bank guarantee of Rs 84 crore was provided.  

As per the status report submitted by the fisheries department on July 5 this month, 18 teams were constituted to assess the exact quantum of livelihood loss suffered by various sectors. A total of 1,04,728 eligible beneficiaries were identified, to whom the first phase compensation of Rs 131.28 crore was paid.

The Relief Recommendation Committee recommended limited compensation to owners of mechanised fishing boats, motorised fishing crafts and non-motorised fishing crafts to the maximum of 50 per cent of the assessed value of livelihood loss and 80 per cent for fishing labourers and fisherwomen. 

Based on this calculation, another Rs 72.11 crore needs to be distributed, for which Rs 84 crore, available in the form of bank guarantee, can be utilised, the report said. 

However, the shipping companies argued that all the claims, including loss of ecology, restoration cost and remedial measures, have already been taken care of by the deposit of Rs 156 crore and no further claims were pending nor will arise in the future. The shipping companies had asked for a refund of the bank guarantee. 

This argument was rejected by the petitioner’s counsel saying the bank guarantee cannot be returned because the original compensation preferred by the State government was Rs 240 crore and the pending compensation dues can be paid only from the bank guarantee. 


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