Vasco: With the naphtha-laden tanker MV Nu Shi Nalini now docked at berth number 8 of the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT), the MPT now has on hand the task of unloading the flammable oil lying in the ship’s tank.
As per a statement issued by the MPT late Thursday evening, the naphtha has already been sold to the highest bidder through online bidding conducted by MSTC, a government of India public sector undertaking, after obtaining the customs clearance.
“As an intermediate
arrangement, the cargo will be stored at the tank farm of M/s Ganesh Benzoplast Ltd (GBL), which is the only facility of suitable ‘class’ in the area, for further transportation by the successful bidder,” states the MPT statement.
According to the statement, “As an abundant precaution, on the insistence of MPT, pipelines of M/s GBL have been tested and certified by Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) on November 28, 2019, and tanks of M/s GBL have also been tested and certified by the PESO competent authorities on November 28, 2019.” The operation is continuing with utmost care in handling and storing of the cargo, the statement says.
The statement further states that the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Admiralty and Vice Admiralty Jurisdiction and its Commercial Division, ordered the schedule auctioning of the vessel MT Nu Shi Nalini by the court sheriff on December 10, 2019.
“As per the order, the exercise of removing cargo on board the vessel is to be completed by December 13, 2019, and the vessel was to be made available for inspection. Accordingly, timely unloading of the cargo has been started to comply with the schedule of the High Court. The next hearing has been fixed on January 3, 2020; the ship is to be auctioned,” states the press release.
It may be noted that the naphtha-laden tanker had drifted towards Dona Paula following a cyclone and remained grounded there over a rocky reef for around 45 days, around 800 metres away from the Marivel beach. Dutch salvager Marine Masters, which was given the task of salvaging the vessel, was successful in refloating the tanker and towing it to MPT berth late Wednesday night.
Minister for Urban Development and Mormugao MLA Milind Naik has expressed disappointment over the decision of disaster management team to make use of M/s Ganesh Benzoplast tanks, based at Jetty Headland-Sada, for storing the naphtha cargo from MT Nu Shi Nalini vessel.
“Being a part of the government, I am not happy with the decision taken by the disaster management team to store the highly inflammable and hazardous naphtha cargo at M/s Ganesh Benzoplast tanks. Storing naphtha is a risk to the lives of innocent people who are staying at Headland-Sada. In case anything happens, people will have to suffer,” said Naik.
He recalled the incident of the massive blaze that was reported at Varunapuri Mangor-Hill eight years ago due to the rupture of an underground multipurpose petroleum pipeline, which supplied naphtha to ZIOTL tanks. The tragedy had claimed lives of innocent people.
“The tanks belonging to M/s Ganesh Benzoplast are meant for storing edible oils and not for the purpose of storing hazardous naphtha. Storing naphtha is not only a risk to the lives of the people but it is also a threat to the people,” said Naik. He said that earlier it was decided to trans-ship the naphtha and added that the sudden change in decision has angered the residents of Headland-Sada, which, he said, may even force them to protest aggressively.
Meanwhile, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) vice president Sankalp Amonkar has said that the MT Nu Shi Nalini vessel is a threat to the people residing in and around the port town of Vasco.
Speaking to pressmen on Thursday, Amonkar demanded a thorough probe into the unmanned vessel that arrived at the MPT with the hazardous cargo some five months back. He also demanded investigation into the tender procedure of the hazardous chemical naphtha.
The GPCC vice president has opposed the plan of the state government and MPT to store the naphtha in Ganesh Benzoplast tanks, which are located in a densely populated area of Jetty Sada. “As per Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, naphtha from MT Nu Shi Nalini was supposed to be trans-shipped deep in the Arabian Sea. How can the statements be changed? I feel there is something fishy in the overall procedure of handling the hazardous naphtha consignment. The storage of naphtha at Ganesh Benzoplast tanks is for whose benefit,” questioned Amonkar.
He threatened to stage a protest at the entrance of Ganesh Benzoplast tanks at Jetty, if the state government and MPT fail to change their decision of storing naphtha at the Jetty.