Coast Guard officers of India and Bangladesh during the exercise in Kolkata.
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Kolkata: The Coast Guards of India and Bangladesh today undertook a tabletop exercise to mitigate maritime pollution in the Sunderbans delta that covers both the countries.

The two-day exercise is being held at the Indian Coast Guard regional headquarters at New Town in Kolkata. It comes about a month since an Indian merchant vessel MV Kolkata caught fire in the Bay of Bengal in West Bengal jurisdiction triggering the fear of harmful chemicals polluting the Sunderbans delta.

The Bangladesh Coast Guard delegation, which is participating in the exercise, is led by Capt M Ehsanullah Khan, an officer of the commandant rank. The Indian side is headed inspector general Kuldip Singh Sheoran, the regional commander of the Coast Guard here.

The defence ministry spokesperson in Kolkata said that the exercise is being conducted in the backdrop of a memorandum-of-understanding between India and the South Asian Cooperation for Environment Protection.

As part of the exercise, an artificial scenario was today developed wherein one Bangladesh flag oil tanker collided with an Indian flag vessel resulting into developing a hole in the vessel which led to the discharge of huge heavy fuel oil into the sea.

Officials of both the neighbouring countries participated in a brainstorming session for formulating actions to prevent the oil from reaching the shore so that sensitive bio-reserve of Sunderbans could be saved.