MARITIME | Ports in Mumbai region to be closed until Thursday

SHIP TRAFFIC is becoming increasingly congested off Mumbai, with port reopenings not expected before 12 or 13 August.

Mumbai and nearby Jawaharlal Nehru Port have been closed since 7 August, when box ship MSC Chitra and bulker MV Khalijia-3 collided near the mouth of Mumbai’s port, dropping about 250 boxes into the sea and spilling dozens of tonnes of fuel oil.

JNPT operations chief SN Maharana told Fairplay that 18 ships are waiting to berth at the port, while nine are waiting to leave. At Mumbai, six ships are waiting to berth and eight are ready to leave.

He added that the flow of fuel oil spilling from MSC Chitra had now been stopped.

Another port official told Fairplay: “The interstate ships are being diverted to Mundra and Pipavav, while those who can afford to wait are waiting.”

Mercator Lines president Anil Devli told Fairplay: “The suspension has affected many export companies, especially with perishable cargo. There will be many orders which cannot be fulfilled.”

A senior official from salvors Smit Worldwide told Fairplay that MSC Chitra’s tilt has been stabilised and is no longer in capsizing danger.

Coastguard are using chemicals to disperse 500 tonnes of bunker oil spilled from MSC Chitra as salvagers work to clear up to 500 containers, the BBC reported.

Three tankers carrying 1.5M barrels for Bharat Petroleum’s Mumbai refinery have been unable to berth, the BBS said. Soybean meal exports from Mumbai are likely to be delayed for a week.

Source: SAFETY AT SEA INTERNATIONAL

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