The Tourism Department’s plans to set up a maritime heritage museum at Mamallapuram suffered a minor setback as the private contractor’s efforts to tow the decommissioned submarine INS Vagli to shore failed despite several attempts.

It may be recalled that the Vela-class submarine was moved from Chennai Port to Mamallapuram on April 6.

A channel of about 100 metres was dug some two months back to facilitate the easy movement of the submarine from the high seas to the shore. However, over time, the channel got filled with sludge, making it impossible for the submarine to move.

Immediately, the private contractor deployed steel plates with rollers and airbags to move the submarine to the shore.

It also failed to yield the desired result, following which the towing operation was abandoned by the operator.

After having exhausted all the viable plans, INS Vagli was brought back to Chennai Port last week.

The next course of action will be decided within a few days.

Talking to The Hindu, a tourism department official said the submarine was brought back to the city as it was considered unsafe to keep it in the high seas at Mamallapuram due to heavy winds and waves.

The operator might start the towing activity during the next window period that might occur some time in July.

“It is not a setback. We have already identified the Public-Private-Partner for converting the submarine into a maritime heritage museum. This work can be done in a year’s time. All the other works are on. There is a small delay but it is due to the model code of conduct coming into the existence due to the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National