On March 24, 1989, Exxon Valdez runs aground and 11,000,000 gallons of oil spilled in Bligh reef of Gulf of Alaska. Responsible for what is regarded as one of the worst oil spills in history, the Exxon Valdez is now known as MV Oriental Nicety. Having changed hands at least four times in the last 25 years, the merchant vessel now belongs to a Bhavnagar-based firm.
Attempts by the ship owner to anchor the ship at the shipbreaking yard at Alang - were stopped in the nick of time by the Supreme Court, â€œInform this court as to the steps being taken to prevent the ship berthing in any of the ports in India without following the conditions indicated in the Basel Convention,â€ SC order dated on May 3, 2012 said.
Nowhere to go, the infamous ship, is now lurking 12 nautical miles away from Mumbai’s coastline. Itâ€™s chequered past, leaving the coast guard uneasy, raising concerns of another possible oil spill. The reason why the ship cannot being forced out is that it is technically in international waters, which begin after 12 nautical miles from the coast.
However, informed sources in the Coast Guard say that they are not comfortable with the ships presence especially because the roughening sea conditions which may impact the ships stability and cause a disaster.
TIMES NOW efforts to get a response from the agency handling the ship off Mumbai - went in vain. The enormity of the danger that the ship poses to the Mumbai coastline, perhaps better understood with this circular issued by the DG Shipping.
Analysis of the accidents over the last 3 years showed a significant correlation between age of vessels and the break-downs which caused these casualties, the committee recommended, inter-alia, the revision of guidelines to restrict the age of vessels plying in Indian waters, a circular dated on April 4, 2008, said. Despite the repeated assurances by the ship owners and the certificates they claim to hold, not many are buying the explanation. All agencies concerned with the maritime situation are aware and have questioned the ships presence off Mumbai. However, none have acted yet.
Source: Times of India. 24 June 2012