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No expertise with ill-equipped team

Panaji: The team, which has been constituted for the purpose of a special response to a threatening disaster situation does not have any member from departments possessing the expertise and authority over activities in water bodies like the captain of ports, coastal police, Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) or the Goa State Pollution Control Board.

The surveillance team comprising of a police constable, talathi and firefighter is also not fully prepared for what to expect in a disaster situation. They are not provided with the basic safety equipment and protective gear such as a fire extinguisher, chemical safety gloves or mask to protect their own lives in case of a fire. They are also not equipped with communication devices to communicate with fishermen, who are found to be in close proximity of the vessel in the sea.

Talathis, who are revenue officials, have no knowledge on how to confront a naphtha disaster and they were also not briefed on the impact of naphtha and what they should do if any leakage occurs, said sources.

Firefighters too are not trained and equipped to tackle fire on ships because the Fire Act and rules empower them to check structures and establishments on land and not on water bodies.

The team has not been provided with binoculars or sunglasses to maintain a vigil on the vessel during daytime while during night the visibility is nil with no floodlights or halogen lights and if a minor fire incident or leakage from the tanker occurs, the surveillance team will not be able to spot it.  

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