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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Goa banks on Singapore experts to salvage stranded tanker

The tanker broke loose from its anchor during squally weather on October 25 and ran aground on the rocky shoreline off Dona Paula, a sea facing locality of the capital city Panaji.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2019 00:33 IST
Gerard de Souza
Gerard de Souza
Hindustan Times, Panaji
The chemical tanker Nu Shi Nalini has been stranded since October 25.
The chemical tanker Nu Shi Nalini has been stranded since October 25.(Sourced)
         

After several unsuccessful attempts to salvage a stranded 11,000-ton chemical tanker, the Goa government will now rope in salvage experts from Singapore, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced Tuesday.

The stricken ship Nu Shi Nalini -- a 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 12 days.

Chief Minister Sawant conceded that the earlier plan to unload the hazardous cargo in a bid to lighten and then refloat the ship was not “practically feasible” and that the responding authorities have decided that it was best to leave it to the experts.

“We have now decided that we will bring on board professional people (salvagers) so that there is no risk in taking the naphtha out of the ship. We have got quotations from three people and two of them have already surveyed the ship. The two companies are from Singapore,” Sawant told reporters.

“The ship has already mounted the shelf and is not facing any further risk (of running further aground). The nitrogen levels used to reduce the risk of fire are up to standard. We have taken care of that,” Sawant said.

Officials said that once the administration picks a salvager, the work should complete within 8-10 days.

“We are confident that within 15 days we will remove the naphtha and salvaged the ship,” Sawant said.

The cost of salvaging the tanker will have to be borne by the owner of the vessel, Sawant said and assured that the Goa government “will not spend a single paisa.”

The state government had earlier roped in central agencies like the Coast Guard and the Navy to salvage the tanker. 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.