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Stranded motor vessel begins its last journey

N. Anand
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Motor vessel OSM Arena.— FILE Photo: N. Sridharan
Motor vessel OSM Arena.— FILE Photo: N. Sridharan

: The stranded motor vessel OSM Arena departed from Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) on Sunday evening.

The departure was necessitated by warning from the Navy and Coast Guard regarding inclement weather.

Declared as a dead vessel, OSM Arena has proceeded towards Chittagong ship breaking yard with the help of tug Golfo De Bengala. The Korean-flagged vessel was stranded in the outer anchorage of ChPT since February 2010 due to financial problems. Moreover, it was declared “un-seaworthy.”

Adding to the misery, the vessel lost one of its anchors and drifted towards the Napier Bridge here when cyclone Thane hit the shores in December 30, 2011. An expert team of ChPT swung into action and rescued the vessel as well as the crew members.

Irked by the delay, aggrieved stakeholders approached the Madras and Calcutta High Courts to get their dues cleared. Finally, the vessel was sold to a private party in June for Rs. 17.10 crore. Thereafter, it was renamed as M.V. Yashwi.

Talking to TheHindu , A. Ravichandran, Chief Executive Officer of ABH Marine Services, a ship management company, said his company was forced to move the vessel out of the port. NGOs too sounded the company about the likely adverse impact on environment in the event of oil spill. “While the Indian Navy and Coast Guard were concerned about the damage the bad weather might cause to the vessel, the NGOs were worried about the effect on environment. We have cleared the dues. The vessel will reach Chittagong in five days. The vessel does not have any one onboard while the tug has 15 people,” he said.

At one point of time, ChPT had about 80 crew members stranded in five vessels, including that of OSM Arena. The other vessels were Coastal Express 1 and 2, Pien Nam (Vietnam) and Cai Lan (Korea). Subsequently, the vessels sailed out one by one.

It may be noted M.T. Pratibha Cauvery, which was also in the outer anchorage for several months due to financial problem, was sold to clear the dues. It left for Chittagong ship breaking yard last month.

“Finally, we have gotten rid of all the trouble making vessels,” said a ChPT official.

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