Taking a stringent stand, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday imposed a hefty Rs 100 crore fine on Qatar-based Delta Shipping Marine Services for the August 4, 2011, Mumbai oil spill. The Tribunal has also slapped a fine of Rs five crore on the Adani Enterprises.
The ruling came from a bench presided over by Justice Swatenter Kumar, chairperson of the NGT.
The bench was hearing an application filed by Samir Mehta, a Mumbai-based environmentalist, who had sought action for the damage to mangroves and marine ecology of the city’s coastline due to the spill.
It may be recalled that there was an oil spill on August 4, 2011, which occurred in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Mumbai, due to the sinking of MV Rak.
The ship, carrying 60054 MT coal as well as 290 tonnes of fuel oil and 50 tonnes of diesel, was on its way from Indonesia to Dahej, Gujarat. The cargo was meant for Adani Enterprises’ thermal power plants. It sank approximately 20 nautical miles from the coast of Mumbai.
In a 223-page judgment, the bench said, “No party from any country in the world has the right to sail an unseaworthy ship to the contiguous and exclusive economic zone of India, in any event to dump the same in such waters, causing marine pollution, damage or degradation thereof.”
The bench has also directed Adani Group and the Delta Shipping services to remove the Ship (M.V. RAK Carrier) and its cargo within a period of six months.
While imposing the fines, the bench said, “The respondents are liable for the fine for causing marine environmental pollution by sinking of the ship in the Arabian Sea at 20 nautical miles offshore Mumbai coast.”
The bench also clarified that the fine of Rs. 100 crore would include the expenses incurred by the Coast Guard and other forces for the prevention and control of pollution in different ways.
Speaking about the fine imposed on Adani Enterprises, the bench said, “The respondents are liable to pay Rs five crores as environmental compensation for dumping 60054 MT Coal in the seabed and causing pollution of the marine environment.”
The bench has also constituted a Committee comprising of eight members to study whether the wreck of the ship and the cargo can be removed from the present location or not, and if so, the steps that should be taken in the interest of marine environment.