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Maritime Board sets up probe to find out why Mumbai’s floating restaurant capsized in sea

Board-appointed registrar will investigate how ship hosting Ark Deck restaurant got grounded in the sea

mumbai Updated: May 27, 2018 00:28 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Ark Deck Bar,floatel
The Ark Deck Bar capsized on Friday and 15 people were rescued from it. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

A day after the ship Avior -- hosting Ark Deck Bar restaurant -- capsized in the Arabian sea off Mahim Bay on Friday, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) has set up an investigation into the incident. According to MMB’s chief port officer Sanjay Sharma, the Board-appointed registrar of the ship will investigate exactly how and why the boat got grounded in the sea. If anybody is found to be negligent or guilty during the investigation, strict action will be taken, Sharma said.

MMB appoints a registrar to each floatel when they are set up.

According to sources, it has come to light that despite MMB’s directives issued to floating hotels, also called floatels, to set up to two thrusters at the front of the boat, Ark Deck Bar’s Avior had not installed them. Thrusters are attached to the front body of the ship, and give additional maneuverability against seawater resistance. Kookie Singh, who is also a partner of the restaurant, said, “These can be installed only when the boat is in the harbour. Once we were docked for the monsoon in May, we were planning to get them fixed.”

The Avior was heading to the harbour at Bhaucha Dhakka around 2pm on Friday, when the engine of the boat stopped working. The boat’s captain threw an anchor into the sea, but gusty winds threw the vessel off-course and carried it backwards toward Mahim Bay. It met shallow waters and a rock is likely to have scraped a hole in the bottom of the boat. It soon began to tilt. Sharma said, “It is likely to have got caught in the crest of a wave, when it hit a rock. But only an investigation will tell for sure.”

The owners of the restaurant have hired an international private firm to salvage the boat and bring it to the shore. HT contacted Vikrant Chandwadkar, partner of the restaurant, who confirmed that Singapore-based SMIT Salvage have been hired to salvage the boat. He said, “We contacted them on Saturday afternoon, and they will reach Mumbai by night. Operations to stabilise the boat will begin on Sunday. It is likely to take between three to five days.”

Singh said, “SMIT will send divers into the sea, and find out where the boat is damaged. They will weld and seal the part, remove water from the ship, stabilise it, and pull it to the shore.”

Singh has also denied reports that a party was scheduled to take place on board on Friday evening. The boat had a port clearance from MMB to travel to the harbour at 2pm for Friday. Singh said, “At 2pm we are supposed to head toward the shore. We travelled 150 metres shore-ward exactly at that time when the incident occurred.”

BJP alleges illegality, Ark Deck denies it

Vivekanand Gupta, Mumbai secretary of BJP, alleged the boat was running without requisite permissions from the authorities concerned. He alleged it did not have permissions from the Navy, the Coast Guard, and environment clearance for waste water treatment on-board before it is disposed into the sea

Denying these allegations, Vikrant Chandwadkar, partner of the restaurant, said, “We have 55 permissions, all the requisite ones needed from the Mumbai Maritime Board. These include a fire NOC (no-objection certificate), a survey certificate that says the ship is safe and sturdy to sail in the water, a health license, a liquor license from the Excise department, and a traffic NOC. All staff is qualified in firefighting, and beach rescue operations. We do not need permissions from the Coast Guard or Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority.”

In April, fishermen from the Bandra area protested against the three floatels at Bandra. Damodar Tandel, who heads the Maharashtra Machimar Kruti Samiti, said, “We protested because the loud music played on the boats scares the fish away, and fishermen’s business has taken a hit in the past few months. Also, the boats used to ferry customers to and fro these floatels go over the fishermen’s nests, so it is impossible to catch fish.”

First Published: May 27, 2018 00:28 IST