Abandoned dredger Tridevi Prem sinks

The abandoned dredger Tridevi Prem sinking off New Mangalore Port on Tuesday.

Abandoned Vessel/Dredger Tridevi Prem belonging to Mercator Limited, Mumbai, sank nearly two nautical miles away from shore off New Mangalore Port on Tuesday.

Dredger Tridevi Prem with 13 crew onboard, was anchored within limits of New Mangalore Port Trust. It was on a contractual agreement with NMPT for dredging (to ensure sufficient depth in the channel).

When DH contacted, NMPT Chairman A V Ramana said that when the crew of the dredger reported flooding inside the pump room on September 1 evening, a repair team of seven people including divers, arranged by the owner, reached the dredger.

But, the crew did not allow them to take up repair work and switched off the lights. Later, the crew abandoned the dredger in a lifeboat at around 2.30 am on September 2, leaving behind the repair team of seven people.

ICGS Amartya of Coast Guard rescued all the 13 crew of lifeboat in a rescue operation. The remaining seven people of the repair team were later rescued by NMPT-Tug in coordination with ICGS Amartya, said the chairman.

As the dredger was abandoned, the port immediately initiated action to deploy the pollution response equipment along with the barge ready to transfer fuel from the dredger.

However, the pollution response equipment mobilised by NMPT and the bunker barge to transfer of the fuel were unable to carry out the operation due to inclement weather.

“There is 45 KL low sulfur high diesel in the bunker of the dredger, which will not create any threat to marine life as the fuel evaporates in the atmosphere in case of an oil spill,” said NMPT Chairman.

The NMPT and Coast Guard personnel are monitoring the area where the dredger sank. Measures have been taken to contain the oil spill. NMPT has already brought the issue of abandoning the dredger to the notice of the DG (Shipping).

Following which, the Directorate General of Shipping also has served a notice to Mercator Limited. NMPT has placed two layers of booms to prevent the spread of oil. The sinking of the dredger will not affect the navigation of other vessels, he said.

Complaint

NMPT has filed a complaint against abandoning the dredger with the Coastal Security Police. The crew members are not allowed to abandon the vessel as per Merchant Shipping Act.

The crew did not cooperate with the repair team. As a precautionary measure, NMPT is running a special control room manned by port personnel. MRPL and Cochin Port have been alerted.

The Chairman said that a stakeholder meet comprising coastal police, representatives of DG Shipping, oil companies, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has been convened to deliberate on what can be done in future to avert disasters.

According to the Coast Guard, Karnataka Commander S S Dasila said, “On preliminary assessment (from outside), the vessel appeared to be stable and no threat to life on board of the vessel was observed.”

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