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Coast Guard ties up with Chennai-based university for oil spill management course

Chennai: As Mumbai grapples with the oil spill, the Coast Guard has joined hands with a Chennai-based maritime university to offer an international level course focusing on oil spill assessment and shoreline cleanup exercise to train officials in tackling such disasters, reports PTI.

The Coast Guard and the private AMET University recently entered into an agreement to offer the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Level-II Oil Pollution Preparedness Response and Co-operation (OPRC) programme for senior and middle level managers of oil firms and ports.

"The five-day OPRC Level-II course, which commenced this month, is the first of its kind or initiative in the country", Inspector General A Rajasekhar, commander, Coast Guard Region (East), told PTI.

The course offers intensive training sessions conforming to the IMO guidelines and would cover oil spill assessment, combat techniques, planning waste management, legislation, compensations and applicable claims, and shoreline cleanup exercises, he said.

AMET University vice-chancellor captain S Bhardwaj said that in case of any emergency of an oil pollution, these trained people would become "on-scene commanders" and would coordinate with Coast Guard and other relevant agencies to tackle the situation.

The course would be helpful in dealing with such disasters like the recent collision between two merchant vessels MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia III off the Mumbai coast that resulted in a major oil spill.

On the Coast Guard's involvement, Mr Rajasekhar said, "We will take the trainees to the sea and give them practical training".

He said the class room instructions on various topics related to functional and operational responsibilities, planning and combat techniques applicable to the trainees were being conducted by senior officers of Indian Coast Guard, AMET University professors and guest lecturers.

"As a part of the training, live demonstrations of pollution response equipment was conducted onboard Indian Coast Guard ships 'Sagar' and 'Jijabai' during the training programme", he said.

"A group of 25 persons from various oil industries successfully completed the course, which forms the cornerstone for the conduct and management of an effective response to a marine oil spill", Mr Bhardwaj said.

He said the next course would start by October, 2010. "The course will now be held regularly at our campus on a bi-annual basis", he said.

The objective of the course was to train members of an oil spill response team organization to effectively respond to an oil spill through the deployment of equipment and resources at the local level, he said

He said the entry requirement for the course is that the personnel nominated should be at least a middle level manager, who has sufficient experience in Pollution Response Operations.


Food inflation shoots back to 11.4% for the week ended 31st July

New Delhi: After being in single-digit for two weeks, food inflation shot up again to double digit at 11.40% for the week ended 31st July as prices of cereals, milk and fruit went up, reports PTI.

Food inflation, which was 9.53% for the week ended 24th July, had remained in single-digit for a fortnight before bouncing back.

On a yearly basis, cereals registered a growth of 6.97%, driven mainly by higher prices of pulses, rice and wheat.

While pulses became dearer by 20.74%, prices of rice and wheat rose by 6.89% and 7.93%, respectively, during the week under review over the same period last year.

Among other food items, milk prices went up by 19.03% during the week, compared to the same period last year.

Fruits became expensive by 7.42% during the week under review.

After sliding for some months, onion prices also went up during the week, showing a marginal rise of 0.32%.

However, on a yearly basis, potatoes became cheaper by 42.18%, while vegetables overall saw a decline of 6.09%.

Food inflation, which was over 20% in December 2009, slipped to single digits in the third week of July.

The overall inflation, which includes change in prices of manufactured goods, was 10.55% during June.


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