Salvaging of grounded ship off Mumbai to resume Sunday

Mumbai, June 18: For the second consecutive day Saturday, salvagers, citing technical problems, suspended efforts to tow away the cargo ship, MV Wisdom, which went adrift and grounded off Juhu beach, an official said. Efforts will resume Sunday.

The towing efforts had to be given up Saturday afternoon due to the rough seas and bad weather.

The massive operation to move the 9,000-ton scrap ship is now expected to be taken up again Sunday and, weather permitting, the salvagers hope to move it from the Juhu beach where it is stuck the past one week, according to the official.

A huge 70-ton tugboat and another ship were engaged in the operation to pull MV Wisdom out of the beach area into the deep sea and anchor it at a safe spot.

‘The ship has to be refloated, for which the water level should be above the draft of the ship,’ Director-General of Shipping S.B. Agnihotri told reporters at the Juhu beach Friday where he was supervising the salvage operations.

The draft implies the depth of water along the hull of a ship to enable a vessel to float and this depends on various factors, including tides.

MV Wisdom is now off around 5 km on the south-west of the Juhu beach.

The cargo vessel broke loose June 11 from its tug which was towing it from Colombo to Alang in Gujarat, where it was to be broken as scrap.

Mumbai authorities faced anxious moments when the massive ship drifted dangerously close to the Bandra-Worli Sealink, the 5.6-km cable stay bridge in the Arabian Sea which is the latest showpiece of India’s marine engineering. Later, strong waves pushed it towards the Juhu beach.

The scrap ship instantly became a new, but temporary attraction at the beach with hordes of people flocking to see it and click pictures with the grounded ship in the background.

Agnihotri said that until the owners of MV Wisdom pay the salvage costs, it would be anchored at a point near the Mumbai coast.

The DGS will also examine the condition of the original tug, Seabulk Plover, from which the MV Wisdom broke loose last week, he added.

Following a DGS request, the Indian Navy Friday took the first step for the salvage operations by lending a Sea King 42C helicopter to drop eight steel cables aboard the ship for the towing effort.

In case the authorities fail to move it out Sunday, the operation will resume after a fortnight when the next high tide is expected.

IANS