Logistics

Fire breaks out on-board merchant vessel in Bay of Bengal, crew rescued

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on June 14, 2018 Published on June 14, 2018
Smoke billowing from the fire on-board MV SSL Kolkata, a domestic merchant container vessel, near Sandheads in the Bay of Bengal on Thursday. Picture sourced by Debasish Bhaduri

Smoke billowing from the fire on-board MV SSL Kolkata, a domestic merchant container vessel, near Sandheads in the Bay of Bengal on Thursday. Picture sourced by Debasish Bhaduri

MV SSL Kolkata, a domestic merchant container vessel, on Thursday reported a fire on-board near Sandheads in the Bay of Bengal, the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) said in a statement. A Coast Guard ship, Rajkiran, was immediately dispatched from Haldia to douse the fire. All the crew members have been rescued and there are no reports of any oil spillage.

Due to rough seas and strong winds, the fire spread rapidly and engulfed 70 per cent of the ship. “KoPT tug Ocean Valour, having external fire fighting capability, was also mobilised,” the Port Trust release said, adding that “the vessel is drifting in SE direction, further away from port channel”. All possible actions are being taken in co-ordination with the Indian Coast Guard, the Indian Navy and the Directorate General of Shipping.

Smoke billowing from the fire on-board MV SSL Kolkata, a domestic merchant container vessel, near Sandheads in the Bay of Bengal on Thursday. Picture sourced by Debasish Bhaduri

 

 

While the Coast Guard is mobilising two fire-fighting vessels from Vizag and equipment for combating the fire and possible oil spillage, in addition to monitoring the vessel using a Dornier aircraft, another tug with pollution response equipment has been kept on stand-by the port to combat pollution.

“We are also seeking the assistance of the National Remote Sensing Centre for tracking the oil slick in the event of a spillage. All the stakeholders are co-ordinating to control the fire and avoid any untoward incident,” KoPT added.

 

Our Visakhapatnam Bureau adds:  Coast Guard ships from Visakhpatnam, Haldia, and Paradip sailed in the early hours of Thursday to put out a fire which broke out on board Indian vessel m.v SSL Kolkata off  Haldia, in the Bay of Bengal.

The ship, with 22 crew members and 464 containers, was on a voyage from Krishnapatnam to Kolkata, when the fire broke out due to an explosion in one of the containers, which gradually spread to 60 containers.

Due to bad weather, the ship started losing stability and the master of the vessel navigated the vessel to the shallow area off Sandheads for shelter. Later, the master decided to abandon the vessel and transmitted a distress signal.

Responding to the signal, the Coast Guard launched a rescue operation and a Dornier aircraft was dispatched from Kolkata. ICGS Rajkiran from Haldia has reached the spot to rescue the crew. A CG release said rescue operations are on.

According to a Coast Guard release, ships from Visakhapatnam and Chennai with pollution equipment, are also on the way to control oil spills, if any.

Published on June 14, 2018
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