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Salvage company tasked to recover blazing vessel

The directorate general of shipping, the regulatory authorities for merchant vessels on Indian waters, has ordered a prob of the fire on the 'SSL Kolkata'

Salvage company tasked to recover blazing vessel
15 June 2018 - 13:21
The directorate general of shipping, the regulatory authorities for merchant vessels on Indian waters, has ordered a prob of the fire on the 'SSL Kolkata'. Shreyas Shipping and Logistics has hired a Singapore-based company to salvage the ship, fearing an oil spill, which can affect the flora and fauna of the Sunderbans. They were seeking assistance of the National Remote Sensing Centre to find out whether there has been any spillage. The Dornier aircraft of Coast Guard will again be sent on June 15 to track the movement of the vessel. A tug of Calcutta Port Trust, sent from Haldia, was trying to put out the fire at night. Choppy waters and strong winds had hampered the rescue operation the day before. It took around nine hours before a Coast Guard ship reached the spot after the fire broke out on June 13 around 11.30 p.m. The 'SSL Kolkata' was 100 km from the Sagar islands in South 24-Parganas. The crew failed to control the blaze because of rough winds. The ship was also carrying more than 200 metric tonnes of fuel. The Coastguards maritime rescue coordination centres in Mumbai and Chennai got a distress call from captain Rajat Ranjan around 11.30 p.m. The Coast Guard ship 'Rajkiran' left Haldia around 1.30 a.m. and reached the spot at 4.30 a.m., cruising at 45 knots. Choppy waters, however, prevented the ship from getting close to the vessel. Meanwhile the fire had engulfed most of the ship. The Coast Guard team was communicating with the crew of the ship through a very high frequency network. Captain Ranjan told the rescue team that the fire was beyond control and their lives would be at risk unless they abandoned the vessel. A raft tied to the 'Rajkiran' with ropes was sent near the vessel. 11 crew members climbed down a ladder fitted to the vessel and got onto the raft, which was then drawn towards the rescue ship. The other 11 members were rescued in the same way a little later. The last crew member stepped on the 'Rajkiran' at 1.45 p.m., around nine hours after the rescue ship reached the spot.
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