Beached ship could erode popular beach stretch in Goa

January 22nd, 2009 - 4:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Jan 22 (IANS) Run aground on a stormy night eight years ago at the picturesque Sinquerim beach, the precariously placed MV River Princess is now threatening to erode Goa’s most well-known beach stretch, according to a report by a marine research organisation. The Panaji-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), in its latest report on shoreline changes in the state, has concluded that non-removal of the beached cargo ship would have serious repercussions for the popular shoreline, which is the nerve centre of the tourism industry in Goa.

The shoreline boasts of world-renowned beaches like Baga, Calangute, Candolim and Sinquerim. The stretch also hosts two five-star hotels and a string of other popular party hot spots.

“If the ground vessel is not removed, the erosion of the coastline south of the vessel will continue in the near future,” says the report, a result of observation of shoreline patterns for over five years carried out by NIO scientists along the stretch where the cargo ship had run aground.

The report states that nearly 1.1 km length of beach near the Fort Aguada five-star resort is already under erosion.

“The maximum erosion has occurred about 250 metres north of the Aguada bastion, wherein 25 metres beach has eroded at this location during 2004 to 2006,” the report compiled by the NIO scientists states.

In another disturbing revelation, the report says that pre monsoon observations had shown that the locations where the sand had eroded had not regained their original position, spelling fears that the expansive beach stretch may considerably shrink in the near future.

According to NIO scientists, it is the constant depositing of sediment near the grounded vessel which is causing the erosion of the coastal stretch in the vicinity of the vessel.

“The vessel is in the wave breaker zone and the area between the vessel and the shoreline has become a sheltered zone obstructing the southwards sediment movement,” the report notes.

Prompt removal of the vessel is the only prescription offered by the NIO if the erosion of the famous beach stretch is to be arrested.

However, various governments have dilly dallied when it came to the removal of the MV River Princess over the last few years and enacting of a special law, the Beach Protection and Maintenance Act 2001, to forcibly salvage the ship has not helped.

The ship is owned by a mining firm run by independent legislator Anil Salgaonkar.

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