'Loading iron ore in 25-year old vessels must be banned'

High-power committee to submit a report to the govt in this regard

The committee was constituted to look into the aspects of vessels carrying iron ore which sunk in Indian coast and work out modalities of improvement to ensure no such incident takes place and the trade progresses in a safe manner. The committee had visited Paradip port where Vessel named Black Rose had sunk on September 9 and at NMPT where Asian Forest had sunk on July 19.

Addressing a press meet on Tuesday, Capt Mohan said the export of iron ore fines have become challenge to port and shipping companies. Iron ore fines can not be exported in all types of vessel. MV Asian Forest which sunk off the coast of Mangalore was a twin decker general cargo vessel.

He said several ships after unloading cargo in other conutries come to Indian coast and hang around to take cargo from here.

Information on such vessels should be given to Coast Guard and Navy by the port authorities.  It will be the responsibility of the Shipper to aggregate total cargo before the vessel is allowed to berth for loading of cargo, he added.

He said only government approved labs will issue certificate of cargo worthiness (having approved moisture content) and such facilities should be provided as close to Port as possible to ensure quick results.

The Merchantile Marine Department (MMD) official or authorised official will inspect the vessel after completion of cargo work, before sailing out to sea. The cargo surveyors appointed by Shippers/Exporters  should inform the Terminal Manager of any cargo which is not seaworthy.

The Port’s Terminal Manager should have the overall responsibility as per internationally accepted bulk code and bulk loading and unloading code.

Other recommendations include considering the revising of the guidelines for cargo operation during the rainy season. The DG Shipping, being the safety administration and in accordance with the Merchant Shipping Cargo Rules, should devise guidelines for safe operation of the cargo at all ports intending to load iron ore in fines.

Oil from Asian Forest to be removed

Capt Mohan said that in Paradeep port, 931 tonnes of fuel has been removed from the sunken ship Black Rose. In Mangalore Port, the immediate priority will be to remove oil from M V Asian Forest. The authorities concerned to the ship will visit the spot on December 28 and will remove oil from Asian Forest. A survey has already been conducted in this regard. However, he said that the crew members of Asian Forest did not co-operate with the High Power Committee during the inquiry as they fail to turn up to the meeting to present their case.

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