Goa officials warn of environmental consequences from beached ship

January 23rd, 2009 - 4:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Jan 23 (IANS) On the heels of a warning issued by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) about the steady erosion of Goa’s most popular beach due to the presence of a beached cargo ship, two state government agencies have also raised concerns about the socio-environmental fallout. Even as the NIO, in its report on the shoreline, had confirmed that nearly 1.1 km of the beach along the Candolim-Sinquerim stretch had already been eroded, the administration has warned of a potential catastrophe, if action is not taken promptly.

Mapusa Deputy Collector M.V. Corjuenkar, in a letter to the state’s director of tourism, warned that the beached cargo ship was a tragedy waiting to happen to the coastline.

Highlighting the erosion due to the presence of the grounded MV River Princess on the Candolim shore since the last eight years, he said this can cause a major natural calamity and pleaded for removal of the ship at the earliest to avoid loss of property and life to the area of Dando Sinquerim as feared by villagers.

The state Water Resources Department (WRD) too has warned that the shoreline has been extensively damaged due to the presence of the ship and has suggested drastic measures like setting up of submerged reefs along the shoreline to ensure that the beach does not erode further.

“In case the grounded vessel will not be removed, measures like submerged reefs have to be provided along with other beach management measures to protect the coastline and also as remedy to the extensive damage caused to the shore,” the department’s chief engineer S.T. Nadkarni said in a letter to the Department of Science and Technology earlier this month.

Nadkarni has further pleaded with the Science and Technology department to promptly decide whether the ship, which had run aground in 2000, would be removed at all or not.

“It is implored that the decision to remove/not to remove the MV River Princess may be communicated to this department so that necessary measures could be evolved at the earliest,” Nadkarni has said.

The beach stretch from Baga to Sinquerim is Goa’s most popular tourism hotspot and caters to hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

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