Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
10-April-2007 15:52 IST
Coast Guard conducts National Level Oil Spill Exercise at Gulf of Kachchh
The two-day National Level Oil Spill Exercise, codenamed “Sagar Manthan-IV” concluded today in the Gulf of Kachchh (GOK). All resource agencies operating in the GOK region including Reliance Industries Limited, Indian Oil Corporation, Essar Oil Limited, Mundra Adani Port and Bedi Port participated in the integrated exercise held in the mid-seas of the GOK. The Coast Guard placed together an Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel, ICGS Samar, a Fast Patrol Vessel, ICGS Meera Behn, an Inshore Patrol Vessel, ICGS Tara Bai, an Interceptor Boat, C-131, an Air Cushion Vessel, Hovercraft-185, one Chetak light helicopter and one Dornier apart from various other advanced pollution response equipment and personnel to conduct the exercise.

Various situations were first discussed threadbare in a ‘Table Top’ exercise conducted at the Essar Oil Club, Jamnagar on Monday to apprise the consequences of oil threat and response capabilities to the Resource Agencies. These were simulated and practiced in the mock drills that were held off the Sikka Port today to assess the individual capabilities under the supervision of Senior Coast Guard officials including Inspector General G A Rajashekhar and Deputy Inspector General GP Raj, Commander, District HQ, Porbandar.

Similar exercises were also held thrice earlier in the Gulf of Khambhat (Cambay) and GOK where the Resource Agencies responded with their contingency plans to synergise and validate their plans in consonance with the National Contingency Plan. The last such exercise, ‘Sagar Manthan-III’ was held in Gulf of Cambay on March 28-29, 2005.

It may be recalled that the GOK apart from the Marine National Park and Marine National Sanctuary has a tide variation of nearly six metres, and together with the prevailing tide current of 3-3.5 knots makes it more vulnerable to all oil handling agencies and ports in the region. GOK as the hub of oil handling agencies catering to its present capacity of about 78 MMT of crude oil is poised to cater for increased crude transactions to the tune of 195 MMT by 2012. There will therefore be a quantum increase in ‘Very Large Crude Carrier’ and ‘Ultra Large Crude Carrier’ traffic in the GOK region alone. Any possible incidence of collision of oil tanker in the GOK is bound to result in a major catastrophe affecting the varied flora and fauna and the marine ecological system in the region.