MSC Says India Ship Was `Properly Proceeding' Before Collision Off Mumbai

The MSC Chitra was “properly proceeding” in the navigation channel off Mumbai before a collision with another ship that caused it to shed hundreds of containers into the sea, said operator Mediterranean Shipping Co.

The Khalijia 3 “unexpectedly” extended a turn and crashed into the Chitra, Geneva-based MSC, the world’s second-largest container line, said yesterday in a statement on its website.

“It would appear that under the rules of navigation, the Khalijia 3 was significantly in error,” MSC said, citing a preliminary review of a black-box recording. A formal inquiry will be undertaken by the Mumbai authorities, it said.

An official for Kuwait-based Gulf Rocks Co., the owner of the Khalijia 3, declined to comment, citing an on-going investigation into the Aug. 7 collision. He declined to be identified because of a company policy.

Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Mumbai Port, which together handle about 40 percent of India’s exports, were closed for a third day today as work continued on recovering containers from the Chitra. India ordered salvagers to speed up the work with the aim of completing the task by Aug. 14, Rakesh Srivastava, the joint secretary for ports at the Ministry of Shipping, said yesterday.

The two ship captains blamed each other for the collision, said Kaisar Khalid, deputy commissioner of police, port zone, Mumbai Police. No one has been arrested and authorities are still examining radio and navigation data, he said.

“There is no timeframe for the investigation as it is a very time-consuming affair,” he said. “Once we have analyzed the data, we will accordingly take action against the responsible party.”

The Khalijia 3, a commodity vessel, had recently been salvaged from a three week-long grounding and was heading into port to unload its cargo under the control of salvors, MSC said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kyunghee Park in Singapore at kpark3@bloomberg.net; Siddharth Philip in Mumbai at sphilip3@bloomberg.net

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