Removal of oil from distressed ship nearing completion

The process of removing the fuel and other oils from the 3000-tonne Bangladeshi ship MV Maa that ran aground near Tenneti Park in Visakhapatnam on October 13, is nearing completion. It is likely to come to an end by Sunday.

Visakhapatnam-based Gill Marines, a company that has been entrusted with the operation of removing all forms of oils in the first phase of the salvage operation, has already removed 1.05 lakh litres of oil, till Saturday.

Removal of oil from the ship is the first phase of the operation to refloat the aground ship. “We began the operation about a week ago and so far we have been able to pump out close to 1.05 lakh litres of oil, including fuel, and the remaining 15,000-odd litres will be pumped out by Sunday,” said Mr. Surinder Gill of Gill Marines.

Four high-power pumps were used with external DG (diesel generator) support and the oils were pumped into 10 tankers, through a pipeline.

“Once all the oil is pumped out, we will take up the beach cleaning operation along with the Indian Coast Guard,” he said.

“The threat of oil spill is now mitigated and the second phase to refloat the ship can commence,” he added.

The 80-metre-long ship ran aground after the wind speed touched 65 km per hour, due to the presence of a deep depression system over the Bay of Bengal.

Prior to that the ship was waiting at the anchorage point with a 15-member crew on board. It had lost both its anchors and as per sources in the Visakhapatnam Port Trust, the engine was not functioning. Due to high wind, it drifted towards the shore and ran aground near the Tenneti Park, located on the northern edge of the port limits.

Second phase

Soon, the critical phase for refloating the ship and towing it back to the safer waters will begin.

As per sources in VPT, the Protection and Indemnity Club which is responsible for overseeing the operation on behalf of the owners of the ship, has appointed multi-national company Resolve Marine to take up the operation.

As per marine chief engineer S.V. Durga Prasad, who also served in MMD (Mercantile Marine Department), the operation would be critical as the area where the ship ran aground was rocky and the task had to be coordinated with high-tide.


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