- MSC Chitra
- Accident date
- Accident area
- close to Jawaharlal Nehru Port
- Spill area
- Cause of spill
- Quantity spilled
- 1,000 tonnes of bunker fuel, 300 containers including 9 with various hazardous goods
- Ship / structure type
- Container ship (2,312 TEU)
- Built date
- 234 m
- 32 m
- 10.2 m
- Classification society
- Det Norske Veritas
On the 7th August 2010, the container ship MSC Chitra was leaving Jawaharlal Nehru Port when it collided with the bulk carrier MV Khalijia II which was entering the port. As a result of the collision the MSC Chitra listed heavily and grounded 8 km outside of the port.
Approximately 1,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil was released into the sea creating the largest oil slick in Indian history.
In spite of the rapid deployment of oil spill response, the oil slick reached the coastline 4 days after the collision.
In total, 110 km of coastline was impacted by the spill, 70% of which was mangroves and mudflats. Due to a lack of prior organisation, the establishment of land response was initially complicated.
Along with specialised companies, approximately 100 volunteers undertook clean-up operations on the coast under the supervision of Oil Spill Response.
The beaches were cleaned manually and the rocks with high-pressure cleaners. The shoreline clean-up operations were completed 5 months after the incident.
As a result of the incident, 300 containers fell overboard, of which 9 contained hazardous goods. The manifest was closely examined by experts with a view to to recovering the most hazardous products.
The 4.2 tonnes of aluminium phosphate (AIP) were of particular concern to the specialists. When this product comes into contact with water, it releases a flammable, toxic gas. As soon as canisters of AIP were reported on the shoreline, the clean-up operations on the beach were suspended.
Managing the grounded vessel
Meanwhile, a specialised company stabilised the vessel to enable the removal of the remaining containers.
Jawaharlal Nehru Port, located south of Mumbai, is a major commercial port which handles over 60% of India's containers. In order to facilitate the container recovery operations, the port was closed to traffic for 5 days.