Grounded vessel has been turned 40 degrees towards sea

Merchant tanker Pavit, the unmanned, adrift vessel which had grounded at the city's Juhu-Versova beach in July-end, will soon be salvaged and set to sail in the sea. Satish Agnihotri, Director General of Shipping, told The Hindu on Sunday that the salvers had successfully turned the grounded ship by 40 degrees towards the sea.

“If everything goes well, they will try to tow the ship away during high tide on Monday,” he said.

The salvage company on Sunday removed the sand around the grounded vessel. “The salvage company, having mobilised the salvage equipments and expert personnel, carried out the removal of sand from around the grounded vessel and made an attempt to turn the vessel towards the sea,” said a press release issued by the DG Shipping.

The tugs, which successfully turned the ship by 40 degrees towards the sea, would further resume the turning operation on Monday, provided there were favourable sea and weather conditions, authorities said. The operation may be hampered if the tide does not rise to the expected level.

The ship had sounded alarm bells concerning the coastal security of the city, which has been under the scanner since the 26/11 terror attack over two years ago. Inquiry has already been ordered into how the ship missed the security radar and landed on the city's coast without being detected by any of the security forces.

Rough weather

Meanwhile, another carrier merchant vessel Rak, which sank nearly 20 nautical miles away from the Mumbai coast a few days ago, is still a cause of concern because of oil spillage and the ensuing environmental damage. The authorities have not been able to plug the source of the spill due to rough weather.

Since the past few days, expert divers and diving support vessels of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) have been stationed near the spot where the ship sank. Shipping officials said that there were adverse sea and swell conditions. “There was also very poor visibility at the sub-sea level,” an official said.

“The operation therefore was called off. The vessel and the expert divers would make another attempt when a favourable weather window is available,” a press release issued by the DG Shipping said.