Plan to station emergency towing vessels for West, East coast

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Shipping Minister G K Vasan
Shipping Minister G K Vasan

Emergency towing vessels, which are used for rescuing grounded vessels and ships, would be stationed at Mumbai to cater to the western coast and Chennai for the eastern coast, Shipping Minister G K Vasan said here today.

He said such vessels were found very handy during rescue efforts of vessels in distress, especially during the monsoon season and when cyclones usually strike.

“Gaining from this experience, we have now decided to place one emergency towing vessel (ETV) on West coast and on East Coast to prevent any major shipping hazards. In the West coast, the ETV will be parked in Mumbai port and in the East coast, the ETV will be parked in Chennai Port”, he said after chairing the 121st meeting of the National Shipping Board here.

Vasan said the Ministry planned to constitute a committee to review preparedness and capacity of ports to combat oil spills.

Noting the need to give a boost to coastal shipping and inland waterway transport, he said the Ministry has decided to appoint a high-powered committee to formulate an incentive scheme for model shift of cargo from rail road to coastal shipping and inland waterways.

On expansion of Ennore Port Ltd, Vasan said Ennore Port would take up four additional berths, which will be awarded during 2013-14.

“A container terminal of length of 700 metres of quay, one multi purpose cargo berth, one coal berth for TANGEDCO and for LNG Terminal are being taken up. The total capacity of the projects will be around 20 million tonne per annum“.

Ennore Port has already offered tax-free bonds of about Rs 1,000 crore for taking up various infrastructure projects.

The bonds are open for subscription up to March 15, 2013, he said.

He said Ennore Port has achieved a traffic growth of 14 per cent, the highest among major ports. “The Port is expected to handle over 17 million tonnes in 2012—13 as against 14.92 MT in 2010-11”, he said.

On the Rs 1,600 crore Ennore-Manali Road Improvement project, he said there was no dearth of funds for it as funds from Chennai Port Trust and Ennore Port Ltd has been released already. About 60 per cent of the work has been completed and it was expected to be launched by October 2013, after a four month delay.

“I am sure work will be completed by October 2013 without further delay,” he said.

(This article was published on March 9, 2013)
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