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NGT notice to Centre on plea for execution of order on Mumbai oil spill

A Mumbai-based environmentalist has moved the National Green Tribunal seeking execution of its order directing a Panama-based shipping company and its two Qatar-based sister concerns to pay Rs. 100 crore as damages for causing an oil spill when a cargo vessel sank off Mumbai coast in 2011, damaging marine ecology.

The petition has prompted the green panel to issue notices to the Ministries of Environment, Forests, Shipping, Defence and Home Affairs, Delta Navigation WLL, Delta Group International, Adani Enterprises Ltd and Astra Asigurari Insurance while seeking their reply by January 3, 2017.

The direction came after the NGT was informed that Adani Enterprises Ltd. had approached the Supreme Court against the tribunals August 23 order which the apex court did not put a stay on.

“It is evident from bare reading of the order that Supreme Court of India has not stayed the execution of the judgment of the Tribunal. Issue notice to all the respondents/judgment debtors,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Mumbai-based environmentalist Samir Mehta seeking execution of its order which asked three companies to pay Rs. 100 crore as environmental compensation (EC) to the Ministry of Shipping, and ordered Gujarat-based Adani Enterprises Ltd to pay Rs. five crore as EC for dumping on the seabed 60,054 million tonnes of coal, being carried by the ship M V RAK.

The green body had asked Republic of Panamas Delta Shipping Marine Services SA, Qatar-based Delta Navigation WLL and Delta Group International to pay Rs. 100 crore to the Ministry, observing that reports showed that the documents in favour of the ship were issued in a biased manner and the vessel was “not seaworthy”, right from the inception of its voyage.

The plea, filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary, has also sought directions to the Centre and other authorities concerned to initiate all legal steps for the recovery of the amounts from them.

Mehta has alleged that despite the NGT order, the three shipping companies have “failed and neglected” to pay the amount towards environmental compensation.

The ship, which was sailing from Indonesia to Dahej in Gujarat, sank 20 nautical miles off the South Mumbai coast in the Arabian Sea on August 4, 2011.

The ship was also carrying more than 60,000 metric tonnes of coal for Adani Enterprises Ltd thermal power plant in Gujarat, besides containing 290 tonnes of fuel oil and 50 tonnes of diesel.

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