Salvage operations to tug out the 175-m long MV Wisdom that got grounded near Juhu beach on June 11 started on Thursday. The Indian Navy helicopters dropped the necessary apparatus on the deck of the vessel.
The director general of shipping had requested the navy to transport eight coils of polypropylene tow rope — 220m in length and weighing about 1,200kg.
“The navy used its Sea King helicopter to conduct a reconnaissance and then drop the apparatus,” said Captain Manohar Nambiar, chief defence PRO.
“The Naval helicopters are helping in tying the huge and bulky tug ropes onto the vessel. Once this is complete, the ropes will be attached to a tug which will pull out MV Wisdom,” director general of shipping SB Agnihotri said.
SMIT Salvage, an international firm with expertise in salvage operations, will start the salvage operation from Friday and it is expected to conclude by Monday.
MV Seabulk Plover was the tug that was towing MV Wisdom before it broke away and ran aground. The vessel was being towed from Colombo in Sri Lanka to Alang scrap yard in Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
“It will be easier to tow the grounded ship since the city will experience high tides for the next four days,” said Tanaji Ghadge, deputy commissioner of police, port zone.
The Yellow Gate police started its investigation after an FIR was filed against the captain and crew of MV Seabulk Plover.
“Prima facie this is a case of negligence. We are yet to make any arrests,” said inspector MG Tope. Tope said investigations were on to ascertain the cause of the mishap. “The captain and crew should not have undertaken the towing if they knew the weather was not suitable. They did not take necessary precautions such as using better ropes,” he said.
MV Seabulk Plover is anchored at the outer anchorage of Mumbai harbour. “Captain Shchepinsky Vadyn, a Hungarian national, and his crew of 15 members haven’t been able to present themselves due to weather conditions. But we will question them soon,” said Tope. (With agency inputs)