Ship owners asked to give action plan by today

DC expresses displeasure over delay in salvage operation

Chairing a meeting with the stakeholders of the ship and officials concerned at DC office on Wednesday, Sharma said that though five days have passed by, the district administration has not received any official communication from the owners of the sunken ship.

“If the owners of the ship (Shining Ocean Limited, Hong Kong) fail to take any action immediately, the district administration will not hesitate to take legal action against the persons concerned,” Sharma warned and directed the representatives of the ship owners to take steps to prevent any oil spill.

Mercantile Marine Department Principal Officer (Cochin Region - comprising Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep) M P John (who also represented Director General - Shipping) said that oil traces have been found where the ship sank (about 7.8 nautical miles from New Mangalore Port and 5.8 nautical miles from Old Port). “Unless steps are taken to remove the oil, measuring about 400 MT, it can prove disastrous to the marine life,” he cautioned.

Stating that already wreckages have been found at the shore, he said that the entire responsibility of the salvage lies with the owners of the ship. At the same time, he clarified that as of now, there is no serious threat to the environment or traffic of other vessels.

He insisted that the representatives immediately set up a marker buoy so that other vessels do not run over the sunken ship and station a boat so that it can monitor the region.

Coast Guard Commandant P S Jha stated that the Coast Guard ships are patrolling the region while an aircraft is making several sorties everyday. “It is the owners’ responsibility and moral binding to remove the oil at the earliest,” he said.

Though Rahul Bhatnagar, the representative of the owners of the ship said that necessary action will be taken, a visibly upset Prabhakar Sharma and M P John insisted that he elaborate on the steps being taken.

Chandan, representing Smit Salvage, Singapore, the salvage experts, said by the time they reached Mangalore, the ship had already sunk. “We are developing a plan of action,” he said and added that the current weather pattern is not allowing the experts to go near the ship to assess the situation.

Mathew Forbes, representing P&I, the insurance firm in Japan, ZP CEO Shivshankar, Additional SP Ramesh, captain of the ship Yin Shang Yan and others were present.

The ship, Asian Forest, which sailed out from New Mangalore Port carrying 13,600 MT of iron ore fines to Zhavgjiagang in China listed on Friday, and sank on Saturday. All 18 members were rescued by the Coast Guard.

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