Dutch salvagers chosen for chemical tanker grounded off Goa
A Netherlands-based professional salvager Marine Masters BV has been chosen to salvage the grounded chemical tanker Nu Shi Nalini, the Goa Chief Minister’s Office has informed.
“The work will be awarded to a professional salvor after approval of the committee’s recommendation by the inter ministerial committee at the Government of India level, possibly within a week,” The Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement released on Wednesday morning.
The stricken ship Nu Shi Nalini -- a 11,000 ton chemical tanker loaded with 2,500 tons of naphtha -- which broke loose from its anchor during the squally weather that accompanied the Cyclone Kyarr on October 25, and ran aground on the rocky shoreline off Dona Paula, a sea facing locality of the capital city Panaji, has remained there for the past 21 days.
While concerns remain about the safety of the ship, the Chief Minister’s Office stated that all measures are in place to prevent a catastrophe.
“For the safety of the ship’s cargo containers, the cargo tanks are inerted daily with nitrogen to keep the level of oxygen low. The ship is still encircled with booms to contain any possible oil spill,” the statement said.
Mormugao Port, in whose custody the unmanned tanker was, has, however, in an affidavit it has filed before the Bombay High Court that “there is an imminent danger of the vessel’s bottom breaking and of 2000 tons of naphtha on board the vessel together with diesel and heavy oil leaking into the sea.”
The salvaging of the ship is being overseen by a committee constituted by the Ministry of Shipping comprising of the Goa Chief Secretary, the Additional Secretary, Shipping, DG Shipping and Chairman of Mormugao Port.
This committee shall take all the necessary steps in finalizing and selecting a professional salvager to carry out the operation. A second bidder the Singapore based M/s SMIT Salvage Pvt Ltd backed out from the process.
Earlier efforts to refloat the tanker failed.
On November 3, after a lot of preparation, a trial run was conducted to remove Naphtha. The trial run was abandoned when some shuddering sound was noticed in the tug boats. The team could not succeed in placing any of the vessel/barge in the trial run due to difficulty in manoeuvring the tug and barge in the shallow water.
Earlier the state government roped in central agencies like the Coast Guard and the Navy to help try and salvage the ship. However, other than stationing an oil spill control vessel in the vicinity of the tanker, there was little else that could be done.
Since grounding, the ship has remained stranded around 800 meters from the rocky cliffs of Dona Paula prompting fears of an oil spill contaminating the area.
However, an aerial inspection by the Coast Guard of the vessel and the vicinity has found no oil spill. Nonetheless, the Coast Guard has also stationed one oil spill response vessel in the vicinity of the grounded vessel.