Panaji: The Netherlands-based professional salvager Marine Masters has achieved success in refloating the grounded ship MV Nu Shi Nalini.
Minister for Ports Michael Lobo, speaking to this daily late Wednesday night, confirmed that the stranded ship, which remained grounded for the past 45 days over the rocky reef about 800 metres away from the Marivel beach near Dona Paula, has been refloated.
The minister said that efforts are on to tow away the ship to a berth at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) in Vasco.
“The team has pulled out the vessel, which was resting on the rocks on one side and on sand on the other. As per the information given to me by Collector North, the team is going to tow away the ship to MPT tonight (Wednesday night) itself,” Lobo said. “We were expecting it to be taken tomorrow (Thursday), but the salvaging team is taking it tonight,” he added.
Marine Masters has prepared a salvage plan and has been working round the clock for refloating the vessel, which carries 2,600 metric tonne of naphtha, 50 metric tonne of high-sulphur fuel oil and 19 metric tonne of marine diesel oil.
The Collector North R Menaka, meanwhile, said on Wednesday night that the vessel will reach MPT by midnight. She said that decisions on berthing and unloading of naphtha from the vessel would be taken on Thursday.
Sources in the MPT said that the vessel will be anchored at berth no 8. They said that naphtha from the vessel will either be unloaded and transported in tankers by road or the flammable oil will be trans-shipped from the berth no 8 at MPT.
Meanwhile, the state government is considering trans-shipment of the naphtha, on board the tanker, to another ship following concerns raised over unloading of the flammable oil at MPT berth and storing the same at Upper Jetty in the port town.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday assured to consider the objection raised by Urban Development Minister and Mormugao MLA Milind Naik, who said that storing naphtha on shore could lead to a disaster in case a leakage occurs.
Sources in the government said that the only option left with the government now is to trans-ship the naphtha directly into another ship.
Naik has written a letter to the chairman of MPT and also brought to the notice of the government the serious concerns about safety of people if naphtha is stored in the Ganesh Benzoplast tanks at the Upper Jetty at Sada in Vasco.
In his letter addressed to the MPT chairman, Naik has said that he understands that steps are being taken to unload naphtha from the ill-fated tanker by bringing the vessel alongside an MPT berth and storing the naphtha in Ganesh Benzoplast tanks at Upper Jetty in Sada area.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Naik said that he, along with locals, has strongly objected to the unloading of naphtha and storing the same into the tanks, as it could lead to a disaster. “My suggestion to the government and MPT is that instead of unloading the naphtha from the tanker, it could be trans-shipped directly to another ship and taken away,” he said.
The minister also said that as per his information, a Gujarat-based company wants to purchase the naphtha after it is stored in the tanks at Sada.