Mumbai, February 03: Following the collision of two vessels in August 2010 and early this month, the union government Wednesday asked the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Mumbai Port Trust to expedite the proposed widening of the existing shipping navigation channel and pilot boarding area in Mumbai harbour.
In a series of guidelines for strict compliance to all major ports, with specific references to Mumbai, the ministry of shipping has also directed the installation of additional navigational aids like fairway buoys, transit lights, navigational buoys with racons at every turn of the navigation channel.
The manning, training and qualification of operators and supervisors of vessel traffic service (VTS) should be as per the international norms and the VTS equipment must be upgraded to better technology with features like “guard range” so that audible and visual alarms can alert the VTS operator of any impending collision of vessels, the ministry said.
The ministry has also advised the formation of a VTS authority under the port trust to provide pilot service for the entire length of the approach to the navigation channel, covering both MPT and JNPT to ensure seamless flow of information.
“It is recommended that a common pool of Pilots be formed to undertake pilotage of the entire stretch of channel from the approaches to JNPT/ MbPT as required,” the ministry directives said.
It pointed out that the existing memorandum Of understanding (MoU) between JNPT and MPT is years old and needed to be updated on priority to tackle key issues of between the two leading ports in the country.
In addition, the ministry has issued other general guidelines for all other major ports around the country, including a voluntary review of navigational safety in all ports by the Navitational Safety in Ports Committee.
It has suggested a review of contingency planning in the crisis management plan of all ports with reference to the lessons learnt handling post collision of ships.
The ministry has also ordered all ports to install Tier-I pollution control equipment immediately at their expense or through co-operation with other agencies and tightening port entry regulations for all ships with special reference to insurance related documents, safety parameters and seaworthiness of the vessels.
The directives are based on the recommendations of an expert committee constituted under Captain P.V.K.Mohan, to proposed corrective measures to avoid sea collisions and other general instructions.
The committee was set up following the collision of MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia-3 in the Mumbai harbour Aug. 7, 2010 in the main navigation channel which had seriously disrupted maritime traffic for several weeks.