After an unsuccessful attempt in the past to get rid of MT Pavit, a merchant ship that had drifted into the city last monsoon, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) is trying to find a buyer for the ship to recover the expenses incurred on salvaging the vessel and maintaining it for the past 11 months.
This is the second time in two months that the maritime board is trying to auction off the ship. Last time, only one party responded and offered to pay much less than the minimum reserved price of Rs 4.75 crore.
SS Shinde, chief executive officer of MMB, confirmed the development. “We have set Rs 4.75 crore as the minimum reserve price for the auction.”
The ship drifted to the city’s coast because of rough weather on July 31, 2011. It raised security concerns because the agencies concerned failed to detect the ship’s movement. The ship also caused environmental concerns as it was carrying 30 tonnes of oil. The authorities could salvage the stranded vessel only after 16 days and took it to Dighi Port, in Ratnagiri.
At present the ship is anchored at Dabhol and authorities are a little concerned because of the approaching monsoon. “During the monsoon, we need to take more care of the ship because it could drift away once again,” said a senior maritime board official.
According to maritime officials, the Dubai-based owner of the ship didn’t respond to their repeated notices. Meanwhile, the state paid for salvaging the ship and also paid the Coast Guard charges and port fees and other dues.
“We gave a reasonable time to the owners [of the ship] but they didn’t turn up. We will have to auction the ship to recover the government’s money,’ said a senior official from the shipping director general’s office on the condition of anonymity.
Before MT Pavit, another cargo ship MV Wisdom had drifted to Juhu beach on June 11, 2011. The 9,000-tonne ship was being tugged to the Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat from Colombo, when the cable to its towboat snapped, causing the vessel to drift away. The owners of MV Wisdom took the ship away to the scrap yard last year itself.