NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change today signed a letter of Intent establishing the India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative together with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In January 2019, the Indian and Norwegian governments agreed to work more closely on oceans by signing a MoU and establishing the India-Norway Ocean Dialogue during the Norwegian Prime Minister’s visit to India in January.

A Joint Task Force on Blue Economy with government officials, researchers and experts as well as the private sector was established to develop sustainable solutions within strategic areas of the blue economy, such as maritime and marine sector in addition to the energy sector.

In partnership, Norway and India will share experiences and competence, and collaborate on efforts to develop clean and healthy oceans, sustainable use of ocean resources and growth in the blue economy.

Both the governments launched the first Joint initiative under this new partnership. The India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative will combat marine pollution, which is one of the fastest growing environmental concerns.

The Joint Initiative was signed formally by Mr. Nils Ragnar Kamsvag, Ambassador to India, Embassy of Norway and Mr. Anil Kumar Jain, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Govt. of India.

Ms. Marianne Hagen, Deputy Minister, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vidar Helgesen, Special Envoy for Oceans, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ratan P Watal, Member Secretary, Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister & Principal Advisor, Niti Aayog, Govt. of India, Dr. M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India, Mr. A Gitesh Sarma, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India and Dr. Sumita Misra, Joint Secretary, Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister, Govt. of India were present at the signing of the Joint Initiative.

Through a range of implementing partners, this initiative will seek to support local governments in implementing sustainable waste management practices, develop systems for collecting and analyzing information about sources and scope of marine pollution and improve private sector investment. Support will also be directed towards beach clean-up efforts, awareness-raising campaigns and pilot project using plastic waste as fuel substitution for coal in cement production and developing frameworks for deposit schemes.

[Source: PIB]


Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Green Tribunal : While observing that, “no party from any country in the world has the right/privilege to sail an unseaworthy ship to the Contiguous and Exclusive Economic Zone of India and in any event to dump the same in such waters, causing marine pollution, damage or degradation thereof”, CIC imposed an environmental compensation of Rs 100 crore upon a Panama-based shipping company and its two Qatar-based sister concerns for causing an oil spill when a cargo vessel sank off the Mumbai coast in Year 2011. The three companies, Republic of Panama’s Delta Shipping Marine Services SA, Qatar-based Delta Navigation WLL and Delta Group International, were fined for pollution caused to the marine environment due to the oil spill. Gujarat-based Adani Enterprises Ltd. was also asked to pay Rs five crore as environmental compensation for dumping 60054 MT Coal in the seabed and causing pollution of marine environment. Earlier, the ship, which was sailing from Indonesia to Dahej in Gujarat, sank 20 nautical miles off the South Mumbai coast in the Arabian Sea on August 4, 2011. The vessel was owned by Delta Shipping Marine Services SA while Delta Navigation WLL and Delta Group International were responsible for its voyage. The ship was also carrying more than 60,000 metric tonnes of coal for Adani Enterprises Ltd. thermal power plant in Gujarat besides containing 290 tonnes of fuel oil and 50 tonnes of diesel. In an application filed by an environment activist before NGT, it was alleged that as a result of the oil spill, there has been damage to mangroves and marine ecology of the Bombay coast. While hearing the application, NGT pondered upon the question of public importance and significance of environmental jurisprudence, in relation to pollution caused by sinking of ship and oil spill in the Territorial Water, Contiguous Zone and Exclusive Economic Zone of the country (India) and consequences and liabilities arising there from. After perusing the relevant material on record, NGT noted that, “The reports on record clearly show that the documents in favour of the ship were issued in a biased manner and the ship was not seaworthy, right from the inception of its voyage.” The Tribunal also noted that there was serious marine pollution caused by the oil spill and continuous pollution will result from the ship and its cargo. While holding the companies guilty, NGT held that it was a clear case of negligence and sinking of a ship cannot be caused by “accident simpliciter”. NGT added that in this case element of mens rea can be traced from the unfolding of the events that finally led to the sinking of the ship and imposed fine upon the companies. [Samir Mehta v. Union of India, 2014 SCC OnLine NGT 927, decided on August 23, 2016]