Three days after the MV Rak Carrier went down, 20 nautical miles off the Mumbai coast with 60,054 tonnes of coal on board, 290 tonnes of fuel oil and 50 tonnes of diesel oil, the Coast Guard yesterday confirmed the vessel had spilt oil.
A Coast Guard official who conducted a recce of the site yesterday, said the spill was noticed around 3.30 pm on Saturday by the force's dedicated pollution control vessel Samudra Prahari. It was located a mile by 0.3 mile area around the vessel and had spread to about seven nautical miles. Around one-two tonnes of oil had leaked from the vessel per hour.
In addition to Samudra Prahari, another Coast Guard vessel Sankalp and a Chetak helicopter, used for spreading oil dispersants, were involved in arresting the spill. According to officials, Samudra Prahari was equipped to deal with a upto 300 tonnes per hour of oil leakage.
According to the Coast Guard, however, it was a minor spill. Oil spills all over the world are classified as tier 1 when the oil is less than 700 tonnes, tier 2 when it is between 700 and 2,000 tonnes and tier 3 over that and official said.
He added, since, in the case the vessel contained around 350 tonnes of oil, it was a tier 1 spill which is considered minor and could be dealt with locally, he added. Though some oil traces and tar balls had washed up on the coast, he said such damage was expected as the spill had occurred close to the coast.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) would now collect water samples to assess the situation and decide the impact on fishing and other coastal activities.