The number of ship-sinking accidents has seen an increased along the Indian coast recentlyin the past few years. During Cyclone Tauktae, Mangaluru and Mumbai coasts witnessed accidents related to tugboat and barge respectively.

A look at Mangaluru shows the accidents involving ships, tugboats and barges since 1992. A few days ago, a merchant vessel, (m.v.) Princess Miral, sank off Mangaluru. Such ship wrecks remain lying in the sea, in many cases, impacting shipping and fisheries activities along the Indian coast.

Safety measures

Stakeholders stressed the need to focus on safety aspects of ships, a quick response to remove oil from sunken vessels to avoid pollution along the Indian coast. They also encouraged pressed on concerted and coordinated effort from by everyone all the concerned to avoid such incidents.

Shivakumar Magada, Dean of College of Fisheries, Mangaluru, said, “Oil spills during such accidents affect the marine ecosystem and coastal population. Priority should be given to avoid them such spills during accidents.” , he said

Stressing the need for stringent safety measures for vessels, Yathish Baikampady, an activist from the fishermen community, said, “The first requirement should be to avoid pollution by oil spills in case of an accident.” in case of an accident. Stress should always be on avoiding such accidents. He expressed strong doubts over the link between ship-sinking accidents and the insurance coverage associated with them. Allaying such doubts, a marine shipping expert, who did not wish to be quoted, said, no one would gain from such developments. He suggested that there is a need for quick and coordinated action by the concerned authorities and stakeholders. concerned during such incidents.Referring to Cyclone Tauktae, he said, “Kochi and Gujarat (with many minor ports) coasts did not witness such accidents during Tauktae, whereas Mangaluru and Mumbai did. The Authorities should manage the situation and concerned should also beef up their surveillance systems to avoid mishaps. In the recent Mangaluru accident, the sunken ship was not on its intended track, and was not supposed to enter Mangaluru, he said. witnessed accidents. If the authorities manage the situation well, there would not be such accidents.Mohammed Ameen, former president of Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, authorities need to look beyond rules when it comes to saving life.

“Swift action by the coast guard helped save lives in the Mangaluru accident recently,” he added. Shivakumar Magada stressed on the removal of wrecks as they limit the movement of vessels. said the wrecks should be removed quickly as they impact the movement of vessels and fishing boats. The expert quoted earlier said though such wrecks are marked, they limit the manoeuvring space for vessels. Wreck removal would avoid any inconvenience.Stating that increased intervals between ship sinking across the Indian coastline is a warning signal for the country, Magada said, the available advanced technologies should be harnessed to manage the ship movements effectively.