Fire destroys 45 mechanised boats at Vizag fishing harbour

Loss is estimated to be around ₹20 crore; govt. ready to pay 80% compensation, says Fisheries Minister

Published - November 20, 2023 09:30 pm IST - Visakhapatnam

The boats on fire at the fishing harbour in Visakhapatnam in the early hours of Monday.

The boats on fire at the fishing harbour in Visakhapatnam in the early hours of Monday. | Photo Credit: ANI

At least 45 mechanised boats were gutted in the small hours of Monday after a massive fire broke out at the jetty in the fishing harbour adjacent to the port in Visakhapatnam.

However, there were no casualties. The loss of property is estimated to be around ₹20 crore with each boat costing about ₹50 lakh.

The fire is suspected to have started in a boat, bearing No. 812 and belonging to one Balaji, leading to the blast of its engine and an LPG cylinder. Soon, the flames spread to the adjacent boats as the mooring ropes of the boat got burnt and snapped. The squally winds blowing across the sea at a speed of about 20-25 kmph pushed the boat further in the direction of the port on the west, spreading the fire to the main part of the harbour.

A group of fishermen at the port raised an alarm and alerted the police and fire-fighting personnel.

“The police and fire personnel along with the available fire tenders rushed to the spot soon after getting the alerts. Later, more than 11 fire tenders from different places like the Eastern Naval Command, HPCL, and the Vizag Steel Plant joined the fire-fighting operation. We were able to bring the flames under control around 4.30 a.m. but by that time almost all the boats in the jetty were burnt and many of them sank,’‘ Visakhapatnam Regional Fire Officer Niranjan Reddy told The Hindu.

‘’Luckily, the fire did not spread to the Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) jetties,’‘ he added.

City Police Commissioner A. Ravi Shankar said the fire was brought under control, but the cause is yet to be ascertained. No loss of life or injury was reported in the incident. A case has been registered and investigation is on.

Minister visits spot

Meanwhile, Fisheries Minister S. Appalaraju, who reached the spot, said Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has responded swiftly and deputed him to monitor the situation. ‘‘The government is ready to pay 80% compensation for the damaged boats. As per initial reports, 36 boats were completely damaged while nine suffered partial damage. The government has directed the police to investigate the case thoroughly,” he said.

Andhra Pradesh Mechanised Boat Owners’ Association president Vasupalli Janakiram said that the situation has been explained to the government through the Fisheries Minister. ‘‘The association stands by everyone affected by the incident,’‘ he added.

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