The management of the Bangladeshi vessel MV Maa, Advance Shipping Limited, sent a letter of ‘Abandonment’ stating the various restrictions that are taking up the mission to the United Kingdom’s Protection and Indemnity Club, leading to the operation being called off.
The 3000-tonne vessel ran aground due to inclement weather on October 13, in Visakhapatnam, near Tenneti Park with 15 crew members on board. On November 14, the ship was planned to be towed out by the Resolve Marine, during the high tide period.
The company has not received permission to tow out the ship from the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) authorities for dry docking and repairs to the Hindustan Shipyard. Before certification that the ship is seaworthy from the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) the ship is not allowed to pass through the entry channel into the HSL
The official says, “We have only one entrance channel to the harbor and in case of any eventualities such as the sinking of the ship in the channel will jeopardize the movement of cargo vessels and ships of the Eastern Naval Command.”
However, as the ship is foundered and placed on the beach between rocks, getting an IRS certification is impossible. Only when the vessel is afloat and towed deeper into the water, the IRS can conduct a survey, that includes checking the bottom part of the hull and then certifies it seaworthy.
As the Resolve Marine’s contract expires in five to six hours after the vessel ran aground, it was not possible to conduct the survey in that time.
As the ship engines are not working and there is no fuel, the ship can’t be kept in the high seas for long after it is moved there. The vessel can also be not kept in the same position for long as it has lost both its anchors and, furthermore, there is a danger of it drifting back to the shore.
“The only option now is to tow the vessel to the HSL for dry docking. With no permission from the VPT, the ship management has issued a letter of abandonment to the P&I Club,” said Bhupesh of Navship, an agent for the ship.
The decision to either scrap the vessel or bear the cost of salvaging, is in the hands of P&I Club, as it can cost a large amount, according to the sources in VPT.
The ship poses threat to the environment the longer it stays on the beach. Every ship has some thick residual oil left and even after the fuel is drained out it can be dangerous.
The vessel ‘MV Maa’ sits on the bank for quite a long time now, and there is a danger of the hull being ruptured, says Marine Chief Engineer S.V. Durga Prasad, who has also served in the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD).
However, Surinder Gill of the Gill Marines, who was given the contract to drain out the fuel, says that oil including 80,000 litres of sludge has been removed from the vessel manually.