CHENNAI: The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday directed counsel for oil tanker Dawn Kanchipuram and LPG carrier BW Maple to file replies to Directorate-General of Shipping’s report, which found personnel of both vessels guilty of compromising basic seamanship rules on multiple occasions, leading to collision in January.
The bench comprising Justice MS Nambiar and expert member PS Rao however, did not deliberate on the findings of the report, due to shortage of time.
Though one of the petitioner’s counsel requested the tribunal to consider issuing directives for review of the National Oil Spill-Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP), the bench deferred arguments to another date.
In fact, a review of NOS-DCP is one of the first recommendations by DG Shipping in its 33-page report. A key finding was lack of implementation of safety and environmental protection policy by vessel Dawn Kanchipuram and its operator.
After the collision, the company and master of the vessel had failed to implement MS (Management for Safe Operation of Ships) Rules, 2000, as amended for further prevention of oil pollution from vessel and ineffective measures were taken. Measures were not taken to immediately remove fuel oil from the ship even though they were directed to do so.
The report also highlighted the delay in the initiation of oil spill containment actions. The initial action by Dawn Kanchipuram immediately after the collision for containment of oil spill was insufficient and therefore violated International Safety Management (ISM) code for pollution prevention.
The management of the company and master of the vessel had not been able to identify all fuel oil tanks, damage and hence could not prevent the escape of fuel mainly from fuel oil centre tank.
There is no evidence submitted that all tanks, mainly fuel oil tanks, were sounded periodically after collision even though it becomes mandatory to gauge tanks in order to identify the breach of tanks and thus the company and its vessel could not prevent the escape of oil, the investigators said.
State makes `240 cr claim
The State government has placed a claim for D240 crore towards the livelihood loss for fishermen due to the oil spill. The fisheries department said about 1.11 lakh affected people have been identified.
BW Maple has deposited D203 cr as bank guarantee and D130 cr has been deposited by Dawn Kanchipuram. On the issue of interim compensation, the tribunal has directed the fisheries department to take the call.
The case has been posted for further hearing on December 14.