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NGT seeks response of Centre, others on oil spill off TN coast

NGT seeks response of Centre, others on oil spill off TN coast
The National Green Tribunal on Monday sought the response of the Centre, the Tamil Nadu government and others by Tuesday on pleas seeking compensation to people affected by the recent oil spill off the coast of Tamil Nadu and seizure of the vessels involved.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatantar Kumar issued notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the central and state pollution control boards, the Ministry of Shipping and the Tamil Nadu government through its chief secretary.

The bench asked the respondents to appear before it on Tuesday and give their response.

The petitions have also sought constitution of an expert committee to oversee and monitor the entire clean up process and assess the damage caused to the environment.

"The fish and all the other aquatic animals have become victims to the widespread disaster caused by the two vessels as a result of their negligence," the plea filed by one petitioner Ashwini Kumar through advocate Sumeer Sodhi said.

In another plea filed on Monday, the counsel sought a direction to the authorities to follow national and international protocol in dealing with the disaster.

The petitions have also made parties the owners of the offending ships, including Gurgaon-based Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. On January 28, 2017, two merchant vessels -- MV Maple Galaxy, owned by Tokio Marine Holding Inc. and under charter party contract with Indian Oil Corporation, collided with vessel MT Dawn Kanchipuram, operated by unknown persons near the Port of Kamarajar in Ennore, Tamil Nadu.

The collision led to a massive spill of hazardous oil and LPG near the shoreline "causing severe damage to the ecosystem in the area and which will eventually become toxic for marine life in and around the place of incident and further result in health and other damage to the residents of the vicinity," one of the pleas said.

The petitioners have sought seizure of both the offending merchant vessels until their owners pay adequate compensation for the damage to the environment caused by them, and that a panel be constituted to oversee and monitor the entire clean up process and assess the damage caused to the environment.
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