Muscat: There is a need to raise awareness on the "silent oil spill" in the Arabian Sea to avoid damage to the marine environment, a top Indian Coast Guard official has said.
Speaking to the media yesterday, Donny Michael, deputy inspector general of Indian Coast Guards and commanding officer of visiting Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Samudra Prahari, praised the Royal Oman Police Coast Guard (ROPCG) for preventing oil spills along Oman's coast. "The Omani waters look clean and free of any risk of oil spills," Michael said.
According to Michael, although there has been a considerable reduction in oil spills in the Arabian Sea, awareness needs to be created for tackling the "silent oil spill."
"Not many are aware of the silent oil spill in the sea, and I think awareness is essential," he claimed.
ICGS Samudra Prahari is the first pollution-control vessel, not only in the Indian Coast Guard's fleet but also in the entire region.
In the two years since its commissioning, the ship has been involved in four pollution-response operations, one fire-fighting operation, and one search and rescue operation in Indian waters. The ship has been nominated for an IMO Act of Bravery award for its professional and daring rescue of the merchant vessel MV Amsterdam, which was on fire in the Arabian Sea last year.
Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador J.S. Mukul, who was also present at the media briefing, noted that the visit by ICGS Samudra Prahari is a continuation of India's defence cooperation with Oman.
"This is part of our long-term cooperation strategy with Oman. Last year, India's warship INS Virat made a visit to Oman, and now, ICGS Samudra Prahari is making her first overseas visit to the Gulf. I am sure this will further strengthen the relations between the two countries," Mukul added.