“But it has reduced to half-a-tonne an hour, even as mop-up operation has accelerated”

Tar balls were reported from two more beaches of Mumbai and from a beach at Alibaug on Tuesday but the authorities said the oil spill from the sunken vessel m.v. Rak Carrier had reduced. The government said the oil spill may reach the coastal waters and beaches around Juhu, Thane creek and Uran now.

“The Ministry of Earth Sciences is using the Oil Spill Modelling and Trajectory Prediction System to generate likely trajectory scenarios for the prediction of movement of spilled oil, its spreading direction, etc. Model outputs indicated that coastal waters and beaches around Juhu, Thane creek and also Uran are likely to be affected by the oil spill,” a press release issued by the Government of India here on Tuesday said.

It further stated, “Oil spill from m.v. Rak Carrier off the Mumbai coast has reduced to half-a-tonne per hour, even as the mop-up operation has gathered speed.”

Tar balls were reported to be sighted on the Dadar beach and the Bandra bandstand beach on Tuesday. On Monday, they were noticed on the Juhu-Versova beaches, but the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials said no fresh oil deposits were noticed on the Juhu - Versova beaches on Tuesday.

“They [the Coast Guard] observed discoloration on the Alibag Beach which, according to them, is a usual phenomenon during the monsoon months. In addition, deposits of tar balls were noticed in the mouth of an estuary close to Alibag. Three or four silvery patches were also noticed close to the Dadar beach and Bandra Bandstand,” a press release issued by the Directorate-General of Shipping here on Tuesday said.

Meanwhile, fresh charges were registered against the sunken bulk carrier by the Yellow Gate police station here on Tuesday. “We have added new charges to the FIR filed against them,” the Yellow Gate police said.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board had approached the police and complained against the ship, which sank nearly 20 nautical miles of the Mumbai coast last week.

“Apart from Section 336 of the Indian Penal Code, we have now registered charges under Section 15, read with Sections 7, 8, 9 of the Environment Protection Act of 1986. They have also been booked under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974,” the Yellow Gate police said.

“The rate of flow [of oil spill] has reduced to 8 to 10 tonnes a day, compared to 35 to 40 tonnes earlier. The continuous trail of the oil leak from the vessel is observed up to 5 to 8 nautical miles, compared to 12 nautical miles earlier,” the Directorate-General of Shipping said.

“Coast Guard Ships engaged in Operation ‘Paryavaran Suraksha' were able to contain the spread of oil within 5 nautical miles from the sunken vessel. An area up to 12 nautical miles from the coast is devoid of any oil patches. Coast Guard helicopter undertook an aerial assessment of the extent of oil pollution at sea and along the coast and observed that the oil slick area has considerably reduced,” a Defence Ministry release said.

Officials said the National Institute of Oceanography was monitoring the habitats. The chairperson of the Central Pollution Control Board is in the city to oversee the cleaning and containment efforts.