A minor oil spillage resulted from a collision of two merchant vessels, MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia-III, off the Mumbai coast on Saturday morning.

MSC Chitra had sailed up to four nautical miles into the sea and MV Khalijia-III was inbound, a Defence press note said.

“The Indian Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Mumbai, received information at about 10 a.m. ICG Ship Kamala Devi was sent for rendering assistance. As of now, 33 crew members have been safely evacuated. No casualty has been reported. Consequent to the collision, the container vessel MSC Chitra got grounded in the vicinity of Prongs Reef Light house,” the note said.

Defence spokesperson Manohar Nambiar told The Hindu on the phone that the quantity of oil spilled was not much. “The fuel oil was for the ship's engine and not for transportation. It was not a tanker,” he said.

Cleaning operations went on through the day. A helicopter and ship have been employed for pollution control in the area, Mr. Nambiar said.

Reason unknown

The reason for the collision is not known. “There would be a separate investigation into it,” he said.