Bid to tow stranded ship suspended

A huge tugboat of around 70 ton and other ships were kept ready to pull the vessel, heading for the scrapyard, out into the deep sea and anchor it at a safe spot near the city coast, at high tide around 1.30 pm when the operation was called off.

“The ship has to be refloated for which the water level should be above the draft of the ship,” Director General of Shipping S  B Agnihotri told media persons at Juhu Beach where he was supervising the salvage operations.

The draft implies the depth of water along the hull of a ship to enable a vessel float and depends on various factors, including tides.

A rope was required to be taken in a small boat from the 9,000-ton MV Wisdom to the tug, which had been anchored off around 5 km, south-west of the Juhu beach.
The cargo vessel had last Saturday broken loose from its tug, which was towing it from Colombo to Alang in Gujarat, where it would be broken as scrap.

Anxious moments

The Mumbai authorities faced anxious moments when the massive ship drifted dangerously close to the Bandra-Worli Sealink, but later, the strong waves pushed it towards Juhu Beach. The scrap ship instantly became a new, but temporary attraction at Juhu Beach with hordes of locals and tourists flocking to take a glimpse of the massive vessel and click pictures with it being in the background.

Agnihotri said that until the owners of MV Wisdom paid  the salvage costs, it would be anchored at a point near the Mumbai coast. The directorate general of shipping will also examine the condition of the original tug, Seabulk Plover, from which the MV Wisdom broke loose last week, he added.

Only if the tug boat is fit to tow away the MV Wisdom all the way to Alang, it will be permitted to undertake the voyage, he said.

Following a request from Agnihotri’s department, the Indian Navy on Thursday begun  the salvage operations by lending a Sea King 42C helicopter to drop eight sturdy steel cables aboard the ship for the towing on Friday.

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