Even as Mumbaiites gathered to watch the salvage operations on Sunday, the salvagers once again failed to move the 175-metre-long MV Wisdom, which has been stuck off the Juhu beach for a week now.
Three days after the operation was launched, officials have now deferred efforts by a fortnight, when the high tide is expected to rise higher than usual.
The decision to wait another two weeks was taken after the tug pulling the 9,000-tonne cargo vessel could not move it.
The Directorate General of Shipping said the operation was called off after the lead tug developed trouble in its engine.
“Efforts have been abandoned until the next high high tide, which will take place a fortnight from Sunday,” said Satish Agnihotri, director general of shipping.
SMIT Salvage, an international firm with expertise in such operations, is conducting the operation, which got stalled on Friday and Saturday.
Agnihotri said there was nothing to worry about as “there is no risk of oil or cargo related pollution”. “The public is requested to maintain distance from the ship for safety,” he said.
People headed towards Juhu to watch the effort to move the ship. Pranav Mehta and his friends from Ghatkopar spent the day at Juhu. After clicking snaps with its large hull in the background and updating their Facebook messages, Mehta and his friends sampled the food stalls. “It’s like a picnic. I had last come to Juhu five years ago. But now everyone is talking about the ship, so we decided to spend our Sunday here,” said the 16-year-old.
With Mumbai enjoys revisiting its most popular picnic spot, traffic snarls in Juhu have become a norm. “It took me three hours to get from Khar to Juhu,” said Ashoke Pandit, vice-chairman, Gulmohar Area Society Welfare Group, Juhu.
“Residents are the worst sufferers as we have no choice but to use that road and we are helpless.”
Fishermen too are unhappy with the marooned ship. Rambhau Patil, general secretary of the National Fishworkers Forum, said mishaps like this take place because authorities have avoided taking any action in the past when ships have got grounded. “There are vested interests at play here and unless steps are taken to limit this, such mishaps will continue to occur,” said Patil.
A complaint was registered against the captain and crewmembers of MV Seabulk Plover, which was taking Wisdom to Alang, for negligence.