Two ships threaten Goan coast

| 21 May 2001 22:50 IST

In addition to MV River Princess, grounded on Goan shore, another Singapore-based ship which sunk off Goa coast last week is now posing danger to the coastline.

MT Heu Sen, the Singapore-based crude carrier, has broken into two pieces like Titanic as a result of a blast taken place inside the ship at midnight on 12 January, leaving three dead and others rescued.

According to Coast Guard Commandant V S R Murthy, the half portion of the ship is still floating in the water and is drifting towards Goan coast.

While the ship had sunk around 280 nautical miles away from Goan coast, the floating portion of the ship has now reached 70 nautical miles off Goa with 30 metres of its part coming out of the water in a 25 degree angle.

With one effort to blast the ship and sink it off by a naval aircraft has failed, the naval authorities will be trying once again to fire, said Comdt. Murthy. "Sinking is the only solution to it", he adds.

According to the Coast Guard, the ship however does not pose any danger of oil spill as the crude carrier sunk aground while it was going back to the UAE for fresh filling. "It can however be a major navigational hazard", states Comdt. Murthy.

He is also worried that the ship may get grounded near the Goan coast, like the ore carrier River Princess, which is grounded hardly 100 metres away from the Goan coast at Goa's most famous coastline of Candolim-Calangute-Baga.

The Coast Guard in the meanwhile has alerted the state government of the ore carrier getting broken into two pieces as some unknown persons have been found stealing the plates of the ship.

"As a result, it has developed a huge rectangular hole from where water is freely flowing inside the ship", stated Comdt. Murthy after meeting chief secretary Baleshwar Rai today morning.

Since this would lead to speedy corrosion, the Coast Guard authorities fear that even little rough weather may cause serious damage to the ship. "Secondly, we do not know how much oil is still left inside", he quips.

The ship had caused serious concern after it hit the coast last year during monsoons, followed by oil spill. The authorities still do not know how much oil was finally removed while the matter of toeing it away by floating tenders is presently stuck up in a legal hassle.

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