New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday fined Qatar-based Delta Shipping Marine Services SA 100 crore for marine environmental pollution from an oil spill after a vessel owned by the company sank in the Arabian Sea in 2011.

The ship travelling from Indonesia to Dahej in Gujarat was carrying more than 60,054 MT coal. M.V RAK, owned by Delta Shipping was carrying coal for Adani Enterprises Ltd when it sank approximately 20 nautical miles off the coast of Mumbai. This resulted in an oil spill which spread beyond Mumbai to Raigad district and caused damage to mangroves and marine ecology of the coast.

Samir Mehta, an environmentalist moved the green tribunal in 2011 for damage caused due to the spill and sought compensation to various agencies.

A bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, chairperson of the green tribunal ordered the compensation to be paid jointly by Delta Shipping Marine Services SA, Delta Navigation W.L.L and Delta International to the central government and directed them to ensure removal of the cargo within six months.

A fine of 5 crore was also imposed on Adani Enterprises Ltd. for dumping the cargo in the sea and failing to take precautionary measures.

An eight-member committee comprising of additional secretary of ministry of shipping, member secretary of Central Pollution Control Board and topic experts such as a senior scientist from the National Institute of Oceanography, a nominee from the National Physical Laboratory, Ahmedabad was also put in place by NGT to monitor enforcement of its directions. The committee is required to submit a report to the tribunal within a month.

The 223-page order held that the shipping company was liable to pay the damages on the basis of ‘precautionary principle and polluter pays principle’.

“There has been ‘degradation and damage’ to the mangroves, adverse impact on human and aquatic life on shore, tourism and activities of the fishermen. The oil spill caused substantial damage, it spread over the water surface and also formed tar balls affecting the aquatic community," the order stated.

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