Mumbai, Aug 5: Taking a serious view of the grounding of the abandoned tanker M.T. Pavit at Versova Beach (north-west Mumbai), the Indian maritime authorities have begun a ‘re-creation’ of the journey of the vessel in the past nearly five weeks, a maritime official said here Friday.
The Directorate-General of Shipping (DGS) has also sought details of the Panama-flagged vessel, from its owners M/S. Pavit Shipping Lines, and its managers, M/s. Prime Tankers, both in Dubai and its insurers, said the official, requesting anonymity.
The investigations would include examination of the ‘currents charts’ and ‘wind pattern’ reports to study how and why the vessel drifted to the Mumbai coast, he said.
The maritime authorities will also check the position or movements of Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Coastal Police patrol vessels within a 12 nautical miles distance – over which Indian security authorities have jurisdiction – since M.T. Pavit reached here virtually unnoticed and sprang a surprise on the authorities here.
After it developed an engine snag following a fire and water ingression, the vessel was abandoned by its crew off Rak-Al-Madrakah along the Oman coast on June 29.
She finally drifted to the north-west Mumbai shores July 31 – sailing unchecked for 32 days. Meanwhile, its owners/managers believed that the vessel had sunk somewhere in the high seas.
M.T. Pavit is currently stuck in the soft sands at Versova Beach, barely a km away from Juhu Beach where a condemned vessel, M.V. Wisdom had been grounded for nearly three weeks in June.
Besides the 20 tonnes of fuel oil and gas oil on board M.T. Pavit, the official said that it could have contained anything else – explosives, radio-active wastes or unsavoury elements – especially since the Arabian Sea route was used twice in the past to carry out terror attacks in Mumbai – in 1993 and November 2008.
Even as the authorities were grappling with the issue last week, yesterday another casualty was notched when a Panamanian registered cargo ship, ‘M.V. Rak Carrier’ sank off Mumbai harbour around 3 p.m.
However, following a distress call, the Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy successfully rescued its 30-member crew comprising Indonesian, Jordanian and Romanian nationals.