Prompt action by the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) with aid from the Coast Guard averted the collision of an empty LPG tanker. The latter had gone adrift with oil and gas installations in the Arabian Sea.
Gas Yodla, the LPG vessel, was on its way to Fujairah in the UAE from Mongla in Bangladesh when the engine started failing and began drifting into the sea. This information was shared by ONGC.
This took place on July 24 around 18.35 hrs and nearly 20 nautical miles from ONGC’s D1 field located off the coast of Mumbai.
The Panama-flagged vessel, owned by Shield Marine, a Dubai-based company, had 17 passengers on board, including nine Ukrainians and eight Indians. It was coming back to the UAE after discharging an LPG-laden cargo in Bangladesh.
After the initial information had been reported by the Offshore Defence Advisory Group (ODAG), ONGC diverted Sagar Pride, its offshore supply vessel. The ODAG mobilized P R Nayak, its vessel to support the drifting vessel. The efforts succeeded in assisting the distressed vessel and helped keep it away from ONGC’s area of operations.
ONGC withdrew one of its multi-supply vessels ‘Seamec-3’ and tugboat ‘Saroja Blessing’ from duties and diverted these towards the drifting vessel. ‘Water Lilly’, a tugboat from DG Shipping, had also joined ONGC’s vessels.
The vessel path was monitored closely to ensure the safety of those on board as well as ONGC installations. By 10 pm on July 24, the vessel cleared the south of the D1 field at 15 nautical miles but continued to drift at about 1.5-2 nm per hour.
ONGC was in coordination with the Coast Guard, DG Shipping, and ODAG to make sure that the vessel is kept at a safe distance from ONGC fields.
Coast Guard of ‘Sankalp’ approached the vessel by July 25 morning. It had taken over as the on-scene commander from the ODAG Vessel. Owners then arranged MV Garnet for bunker support.
The vessel’s captain agreed to tow it. The vessel had ultimately been secured to ‘Water Lilly’, the DG Shipping tug. When the tow line of ‘Water Lilly’ parted, ONGC deployed ‘Sagar Pride’ to tow the vessel to complete safety on July 26, 2021.