‘MSC Chitra’ goes to Alang

by Hans | March 21st, 2011

The Mumbai Port officials heaved a sigh of relief two days ago, on Saturday, as the wreck of the MSC Chitra, which was lying in the harbour waters for the last seven months, was finally towed out. The ill-fated vessel is now on its way to the Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat. Removing the wreck, a navigational hazard at the harbour, was not an easy task, said a port official. Two of the mooring lines were broken off due to strong undercurrents when it was pulled out of the harbour by tugs, causing anxious moments, the official said.

Photo: A.Quack

It is feared that the ship still has containers with hazardous materials on board. Most of the nearly 300 containers that fell off the ship when it collided with the bulk carrier M.V. Khalijia III were recovered by salvage experts.

These containers were loaded with cargoes including caustic soda, pesticides and other chemicals. Shipping experts say that there could be damaged containers with cargoes still on board. They believe that the vessel could have toxic gases formed by chemicals mixed with water on board. Earlier reports indicated that lifting containers out of the ship was difficult because of toxic gases.

However, Mr Satish Agnihotri, Director-General of Shipping, said the owners of the vessel had assured that the ship would be free of hazardous chemicals on board, before it was moved out.

All precautionary measures were taken to ensure safety, he said. The Mediterranean Shipping Company, the owners of the ship, have found a buyer for the ship, said Capt Deepak Tiwari, CEO, MSC Agencies India, the shipping line’s Indian outfit.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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