bhns-1The state environment department along with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board have sought legal consultation to claim damages from the two shipping companies whose vessels collided, causing an oil spill off the Mumbai coast. Terming the whole disaster a “freak accident”, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said that lessons have to be learnt and a system will be put in place to combat such pollution. Speaking on the Navi Mumbai Airport issue, he said that it could be partially resolved by August 18, as the Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) will be meeting to discuss the answers from CIDCO on the major environmental issues. He added that the country will lose out on considerable funds it could have claimed as liability as it is not yet a part of the Bunker convention of the International Maritime Organisation, a specialised agency of the UN which establishes compensation and liability issues. The minister along with the Maharashtra environment minister Suresh Shetty, inspected the coastline near Elephanta Island and held review meetings with the various agencies. Ramesh further added that the environment ministry has appointed the National Institute of Oceanography and the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to undertake an environment damage assessment of the oil spill. The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFI) has also been asked to submit a report on the loss of fishermen’s livelihood. Only after this report will the state be able to compensate the fishermen. The preliminary assessment report will be available within 10-15 days, while the detailed assessment will be available after three months. Furthermore, the union minister and state minister had consulted experts from London as well as India on the damage control measures to be taken to save the coastline. Bureau report – NMTV News.

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