How ship collision took place in Mumbai harbour

August 13th, 2010 - 10:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 13 (IANS) Minutes before they collided in Mumbai harbour, MSC Chitra was proceeding properly outbound within the main navigation channel while Khalijia 3 was entering the channel against the rules, which led to the collision, an official said Friday.
“While MSC Chitra was on route from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) to Mundra port, it appears that Khalijia 3 was attempting to proceed to Mumbai port,” said MSC Chitra’s Captain N. Malhotra, adding that he was speaking after review of the data of the Vessel’s Voyage Data Recorder.

The collision took place between the two vessels Aug 7.

“While the precise circumstances of the collision will be determined by an inquiry by the authorities, we have carried out a review of the Vessel’s Voyage Data Recorder (S-DVR),” Malhotra said.

“From the data it is apparent that MSC Chitra was properly proceeding outbound within the main navigation channel. Khalijia 3 left its anchorage position and crossed the channel ahead of MSC Chitra at a distance of about 1.7 nautical miles. While MSC Chitra maintained her outbound course along the channel, Khalijia 3 after crossing the channel turned sharply to port and re-entered the channel,” Malhotra said.

Through a graphical presentation, Malhotra added: “This was less than 2 minutes to collision. On re-entering, Khalijia 3 continued to turn to port contrary to rules of navigation and its bow (front section) struck MSC Chitra ahead of midship.”

Malhotra said that MSC Chitra has suffered extensive damage and she had to be grounded close to the point of collision outside the channel. MSC Chitra’s fuel tanks developed breaches, and the vessel tilted about 20 degrees.

“In view of the vessel’s condition, the crew was advised by the authorities to disembark from the ship. The Master and the bridge officers were the last to leave. Every effort was made by the Master and his crew at the time to contain the fuel leak,” Malhotra said.

The MSC Ship Management, as part of their disaster management protocol had immediately engaged professional salvors.

“A large salvage team has been mobilized from Singapore and Rotterdam with material and equipment flown in for the salvage operations. Several tugs, crane barges, container barges and several boats have been engaged,” Malhotra said.

“The salvors and our vessel’s managers are co-ordinating with the authorities on all aspects of the salvage operations. ITOPF, who are international marine pollution experts, has been appointed to advise and assist in containment and clean up operations with the assistance of coast guard and local authorities,” Malhotra added.

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