Now, dispute over weight of River Princess

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After reports of alleged false claims by M/s Arihant Shipbreakers, doubts were now being raised over the authenticity of the ...

BY ABDUL RAUF BEIG | NT
PANAJI: After reports of alleged false claims by M/s Arihant Shipbreakers, doubts were now being raised over the authenticity of the estimated weight of River Princess as reported by companies in their survey reports by three survey companies.

The registered light ship weight of River Princess has been recorded as 18,729 tonnes in the Permanent Certificate Registry and registered in the Republic of Liberia. Two surveys conducted by two different companies in November 2000 and August/September 2005 put the total light ship weight at 19,361 tonnes.
The first survey was conducted by KGN Offshore and Diving Services, reportedly at the behest of the lessee of the vessel, while the second was conducted by National Ship Design and Research Centre and Shipping Corporation of India at the request of the government of Goa. The Coast Guard and the Director General of Shipping also had estimated the weight of the ship almost similarly at 19,380 tonnes, sources said.
According to senior government officials, yet another survey by renowned firm Ericson and Richards in February 2010 had estimated that the total weight of the ship was at 11,325.7 metric tonnes and the same was worth around Rs 14.01 crore at the rates prevailing in the market. The report also said that over 8,000 metric tonnes of steel was found missing during the survey.
The matter is further compounded by the views of experts in shipbuilding and architecture who told The Navhind Times that the light ship weight of a vessel measuring 261 metres and with a width of 40-plus metres, summer draft of 15.69 metres and with a DWT of 1,14,645 tonnes should be around 34,000 metric tonnes.
Government officials associated with the removal of the vessel and sale of its scrap said that M/s Arihant Shipbreakers, the company that won the last contract to remove the vessel, had removed scrap to the tune of 11,400 metric tonnes, which has since been sold in the market.
The scrap removed and sold is slightly more than the estimated weight of the grounded vessel by Ericson and Richards (Goa), and presence of more wreck as reported by the National Institute of Oceanography in its latest report submitted earlier this month surely points out that the estimation was “wrong.” It is estimated that around 6,000 tonnes of steel was still lying at the site where the vessel was grounded.
Meanwhile, government officials have informed that the survey conducted by New Horizon Survey, which certified that the vessel was totally removed, was by using site scan sonar and that magnetometer was not used. The officials stated that the report said that while the ship was removed fully, debris of 4-5 metre long pieces was seen.
Though the survey was conducted by New Horizon Survey in the presence of the officials of the National Institute of Oceanography and the National Institute of Hydrology, they, however, were taken on board the vessel used in survey on the second and third day. They were not taken on site on the first day and were not fully associated, the officials said.
The officials further said that the representatives of the NIO and NIH were not happy with the report and sought CD of the sonic recording done by the surveying firm. While the CD was made available it could not be opened by these officials who later did not agree with the findings and expressed reservations over the process, the officials said.