Goa’s quest to refloat stranded tanker hit, chopper dumps generator into sea
The Navy said the helicopter crew decided to dump the generator into the sea after the aircraft experienced increased vertical oscillations.Updated: Oct 30, 2019, 18:17 IST
Salvage teams have been forced to postpone attempts to refloat the stranded chemical tanker Nu Shi Nalini off Goa’s Dona Paula bay after a Navy helicopter carrying a diesel generator to the stricken ship was forced to jettison it into the water on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.
The state administration along with help from the Navy has been trying to refloat the grounded 11,000 ton tanker after unloading the naphtha it is carrying.
“While making its final approach over the ship, the aircraft experienced increasing vertical oscillations. The aircrew attempted to control the aircraft, but keeping in mind the safety of the aircraft and likelihood of damage to the ship’s deck as also risk of fire due to the highly inflammable naphtha onboard the ship, considered it prudent to jettison the load into the water next to the ship, thereby preventing a potential mishap,” the Navy said in a statement.
The tanker broke loose on August 24 in gusty winds that accompanied Cyclone Kyarr and drifted towards the shore before running aground on the night of October 25 around 800-metres from Dona Paula, a sea facing locality of the capital city. The ship is loaded with 2,000 tonnes of naphtha, 50 tonnes of heavy oil and 19 tonnes diesel.
“Naval divers have been deployed to assist in the recovery of the generator and further assistance as required is being rendered,” the Navy said.
Chief minister Sawant who had promised that the unloading naphtha from the vessel would begin after October 31 has now conceded that there will be a delay.
“The process of emptying the vessel will be delayed by a couple of days, because of what has happened,” Sawant told reporters here.
The unmanned tanker was anchored offshore in the inner anchorage of Mormugao Port after it was abandoned by its crew last year over unpaid dues. In June 2018, an explosion in the ship killed a crew member when it was anchored off the Kochi port.
Built in 2012, the Nu Shi Nalini is owned by Arya Ship Charterers.
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.