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Burning, beached boxship poses bunker spill threat at India

03 Jul 2018

Shreyas Shipping and Logistics (Shreyas), the Indian flagged vessel owning unit of Transworld Group, Monday reported its operated container vessel SSL Kolkata remains aground some 7.5 nautical miles off the Indian Sunderbans, Kolkata, West Bengal.

Media reports estimate about 400 metric tonnes (mt) of bunker fuel remaining within the 1,100 TEU capacity box vessel, with a risk of it breaking apart.

The vessel remains in position Latitude 21° 26.5’N, Longitude 088° 46.4’E, aground in shallow water and sitting on soft mud.

International salvors M/s. SMIT have reported that further explosions have been heard from stand-by vessel Lewek Altair, and that SSL Kolkata has developed a list to starboard with the deck now partly submerged.

Shreyas noted the grounding occurred following an explosion on 13 June in the cargo area, resulting in a significant fire. The crew, using the on—board fire response systems, fought the fire for as long as they were able to, but were eventually forced to leave the vessel due to the fire’s intensity. All 22 crew members were unharmed.

The removal of bunker fuel and cargo, meanwhile, remain a “priority”. Several support vessels are standing by for observation and potential anti-pollution duties, with the primary aim of protecting the marine environment and preventing any pollution from cargo or fuel oil.

“While there has been no release of any fuel oil to date, plans have also been developed by the authorities, salvors and other experts to address this eventuality. These include the deployment of absorbent booms and other countermeasures,” said Captain V.K. Singh, Managing Director of Shreyas.

“Shreyas takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and will make every effort to ensure that this situation is brought to a safe and timely conclusion, despite the very challenging monsoon season conditions which are currently being faced.

“The company would like to thank the Indian authorities, for their timely and highly professional assistance in this matter and will continue to work in close cooperation with all concerned parties.”

Photo credit: Indian Navy
Published: 3 July, 2018


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