India Oil Spill, Chitra & Khalijia Collide! (photos)

MUMBAI, India (AP) —

Indian coast guard vessels and helicopters worked Monday to contain oil spilling from a stricken container ship that collided with another vessel in the Arabian Sea, India’s defense ministry said.

The Panamanian-registered MSC Chitra smashed into the St. Kitts-registered MV-Khalijia-II on Saturday near Mumbai’s Jawahar Lal Nehru port. The accident caused the MSC Chitra to run aground and list heavily, ministry spokesman Capt. Manohar Nambiar told The Associated Press.

Helicopters sprayed chemicals on the oil spill to prevent it from spreading, Nambiar said.

The amount of oil leaked was unclear. The environment minister of Maharashtra state told reporters Monday about 2 tons of oil was pouring into the water every hour.

The MSC Chitra was carrying several thousand tons of oil products such as diesel and lubricants, Environment Minister Suresh Shetty said, adding the government was consulting foreign experts on how best to contain the spill.

The ship was still listing deeply Monday. The MV-Khalijia-II had less damage and posed less risk; its cargo wasn’t disclosed.

The Jawahar Lal Nehru port was closed at least until Wednesday because of the collision and spill.

 

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This handout photograph provided by the Ministry of Defence, shows "Chitra" ship that collided, at an unknown location near Mumbai, India, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010. Ships Chitra and Khalijia collided Saturday resulting in an oil spill. (AP Photo/Ministry of Defence, HO)

Government officials in coastal areas near Mumbai have been asked to test sea water in their area to check how far the oil may have spread, Chhagan Bhujbal, another senior minister told reporters.

The captains of both vessels have been asked to appear before local officials to explain how the collision happened, police said.

At least 250 containers from the damaged vessel fell off and port officials were trying to salvage them to avoid navigational hazards to other ships, officials said.

Crews from both vessels were rescued without any serious injuries, Nambiar said.

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Waste from the Panamanian-registered container ship MSC Chitra that had Saturday collided with the MV-Khalijia-II, a St. Kitts registered ship, unseen, is seen in the Arabian Sea, close to Mumbai, India, Monday, Aug. 9, 2010. Indian coast guard ships and helicopters are working to try and contain an oil spill from dangerously tilting container ship that collided with another vessel near Mumbai, a spokesman for India’s defense ministry said Monday. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

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The Panamanian-registered container ship MSC Chitra that had Saturday collided with the MV-Khalijia-II, a St. Kitts registered ship, tilts in the Arabian Sea, close to Mumbai, India, Monday, Aug. 9, 2010. Indian coast guard ships and helicopters are working to try and contain an oil spill from the dangerously tilting container ship following the collision near Mumbai, a spokesman for India’s defense ministry said Monday. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

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