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Indian ports likely to outsource future clean up jobs

Mumbai: Ports in India will be allowed to outsource all future clean-up operations to global agencies with expertise in the area. According to the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency, the Ministry of Shipping agreed on this after reviewing India's preparedness to handle oil spills, writes the Business Times.

'We are most likely going to outsource it, as it is not possible for ports to buy all the equipment which runs into several hundred crores (billions of rupees). We are planning to authorise the ports to outsource the job of clean-up to people who have prior experience in handling such cases,' Rakesh Srivastava, joint secretary in the ministry, said.

The ministry came to this conclusion after the government's disastrous experience in combating the spill from a damaged ship, MSC Chitra (pictured), at the mouth of Mumbai harbour.

'We are not equipped to handle an oil spill of even 700 tonnes,' said a senior government official involved in the Mumbai clean-up operation. 'The equipment needed for cleaning up the oil slick is very expensive and its maintenance is very difficult,' the official told PTI. 'The equipment needed for cleaning up the oil slick (near Mumbai) is very expensive and its maintenance is very difficult.'

The ministry has created a contingency fund for clean-up operations.The money has been collected by ports, which handle oil imports and exports, by charging 50 paise ($0.01) per tonne from oil passing through these ports. 'We will prepare an approved list of people or companies which handle oil spills . . . technical people from all over the world,' Srivastava said.  [25/08/10]

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