A container vessel damaged five days ago in a collision with another ship in the Hooghly river in West Bengal is awaiting repair even as officials said on Sunday that it might pose a threat to other ships using the channel.
The Gibraltar-registered vessel, Tiger Spring, was grounded on the sandbar besides the channel in the South 24 Parganas district after the collision on Tuesday.
Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) authorities apprehend that ship movements may get disrupted if the damaged vessel slides back into the navigational channel.
The Colombo-bound container vessel was manoeuvring through the Rangaphala navigational channel when it was hit by Bahamas-registered ship Green Valley, at the confluence of the Hooghly and the Rupnarayan rivers at Nurpur.
“The vessel is now grounded on the sandbar just beside the navigational channel and there is a possibility that the ship may slide back into the channel, hitting ship movement. It will cause a huge loss to port business,” said a senior official of the port trust.
He said that the experts from the Netherlands-based salvage firm engaged by the ship’s owner suggested that they could carry out welding to repair the damage only if the ship was lifted out of the sand into which it had settled.
This could be achieved after the containers on the ship were removed, said the official.
“Containers are packed on vessels in a set pattern. If they are removed in a haphazard manner, there is every possibility of the vessel losing balance. We are waiting for a large crane to be brought here to unload the containers,” said Arun Kumar Bagchi, director of KoPT’s marine department.
“It would take about 10 days for a large crane to reach the spot. Till then, we are trying to remove containers with the help of a small floating crane,” Bagchi, who is supervising the salvage operation, told IANS.