About 40 vessels are apparently stranded off Indian coasts, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said here today.
"But the matter is under control. We have a strict regime, we, the ministry of shipping...and if that doesn’t work, we will invoke the Environment Protection Act," Natarajan told reporters here.
"Ministry of shipping and coast guard ensures that no vessel enters the Indian territory. It is ensured that they have proper insurance cover, particularly if they are of a certain age," Natarajan said.
"There is a need to make sure there is a corpus and that we have the forecasting systems for future oil spills in place," she said.
"We need to establish a common corpus between the ministry of shipping, the coast guard and the environment authorities so that we don’t wait for money. We cannot wait until the claim process is complete to start salvage operations," the minister said.
It is important for the government to maintain a corpus, a fund where immediately salvage operations can begin.