Efforts begin to salvage ship stranded at Juhu beach

Indian Navy helicopters began dropping heavy duty wires and other equipment on the deck of the merchant vessel this afternoon.

"The Naval helicopters are helping in tying the huge and bulky tug ropes onto the vessel. Once this is complete, the ropes will be attached to a tug which will pull out M V Wisdom," Director General of Shipping S B Agnihotri told PTI.

The tug is expected to reach the spot late this evening and salvers hope to take advantage of the high tide tomorrow morning when they plan to start the pull-out of the vessel, Agnihotri said. The salvage efforts are likely to conclude by Saturday evening.

While DGS is coordinating in the salvaging efforts, the vessel owner has commissioned a professional salvaging company for the job in which the Indian Navy is assisting, he said.

M V Wisdom was being tugged to the Alang ship breaking yard in Gujarat from Colombo when the cable to its tow boat snapped on June 11, causing the vessel to drift towards the Mumbai coast. Initially, it was feared that it may hit the landmark Bandra-Worli Sea Link, but it finally veered towards the Juhu Chowpatty where it ran aground.

As the vessel was being taken to be dismantled, it did not have any cargo or fuel and was unmanned.

An FIR was registered against the captain and crew of foreign vessel M V Seabulk Plover, which was towing MV Wisdom, on June 13. The crew, all foreign nationals, were booked under IPC Sections 280 (rash navigation of vessel) and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), by Yellow Gate Police Station.

The large cargo vessel, which according to reports, weighs 16,000 tonnes and is 145 metres long, had become quite a spectacle at the Juhu Chowpatty, a favourite with tourists and locals alike.

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