Ship that ran aground on Goan beach 12 years ago being taken apart

PTI Panaji | Updated on March 20, 2012 Published on March 20, 2012

A huge oil tanker ship that had run aground on Goa’s Candolim beach 12 years ago, will finally vanish from the spot by the end of the next month, as it is being broken into parts by professional ship-breakers, senior officials said today.

The State Tourism Director, Mr Swapnil Naik, said the wreckage of MV River Princess, a 26-metre-long cargo ship that hit the beach in troubled weather in 2000, is being broken and removed by Mumbai-based ship breakers.

Mr Naik said almost 80 per cent of the work of breaking and taking away the ship in parts has already been completed, while the remaining work will be over by the end of next month.

The Mumbai-based Arihant Ship Breakers Pvt Ltd was given the contract for breaking the ship. After several attempts to tow away the ship had failed, the authorities were forced to allow the vessel to be broken, despite environmental concerns.

The existence of the ship has also resulted in sand erosion on Candolim beach, which is adjacent to the picturesque Calangute beach in North Goa.

Several measures, including geo-tubes to control the sand from crumbling in the water were taken, but in vain.

Mr Naik said the contract gave the company 180 working days to remove the wreckage. “They should be able to finish the work in the given time,” he said.

The company, which began work in March 2011, had taken a break during the monsoons.

“We will count the exact number of working days that the company has worked. Sometimes, they had to curtail the work halfway due to gusty wind conditions, all the factors would be counted,” Mr Naik said.

A few locals also expressed concerns that the removal of the ship may create a depression in the area, resulting in cases of drowning.

Mr Xavier Machado, a local, said lifeguard services, employed by the Tourism Department, should be informed about the hazards, once the ship is removed from the location.

He said a false current could be created on account of the ship being stuck in the seabed for the past 12 years, thus creating a hole at the site.

“At least for a few days, lifeguards should disallow swimming in and around Candolim beach,” said Mr Machado, who runs a shack at Calangute beach.

Candolim beach has reported a few cases of drowning in the recent past due to uncertain currents created by the presence of the huge ship.

Published on March 20, 2012
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