PRESS RELEASE NO. 1
15th June 2013 at 1530 hrs.
SUBJECT: Stranded Oil Tankers M. T. Pratibha Tapi and M. T. Pratibha Indrayani off Mumbai coast – Regarding.
(1) The oil product tankers M.T. Pratibha Tapi, IMO no. 8700400, built 1987, GRT 23926, DWT 40146 and M.T. Pratibha Indrayani IMO no. 8100430, built 1983, GRT 19245, DWT 32042 have been at anchor off Mumbai for the past couple of months. These two ships are owned by M/s Pratibha Shipping, Mumbai and are in ballast condition with reduced manning of crew. These two ships are having on board fuel oil of about 200 tons each as reported by the owner.
(2) Considering that the shipping industry is undergoing recession, which has adversely affected the commercial operations of the shipping company, the Directorate has well in advance advised the ship owner to at least maintain its ships in seaworthy condition or decommission before arrival of the monsoon. The Safety Directorate has no role in the commercial operations of shipping.
(3) The Directorate permitted reduction of manning on board these two ships during the fair weather period at the request of the owner with the condition that the manning shall either be increased or these ships to be decommissioned or to be made operational before the onset of monsoon.
(4) Being aware of severity of monsoon in Indian waters, the Directorate has been closely monitoring the condition of these two ships in order to protect the interest of all concerned. The owner through regular review meetings have been directed by the Directorate to remove the ships from the present position off Mumbai coast either by sending the ships to the scrap yard or making these ships operational without any further delay. These two ships as per the report of the owner are under court arrest in the High Court of Mumbai for the settlement of maritime claims.
(5) The Directorate being aware of these facts and circumstances has issued advisories to the owners in advance to prevent any marine accident. This advisory prescribed engagement of suitable salvage tug by the owner to place both the ships in the nearest safe sheltered place or port immediately and issue necessary navigational warning to shipping etc.
(6) The Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned two numbers Emergency Towing Vessels (ETV) to protect Indian coast line against threat from such hazards. One ETV each of 60 bollard pull power is being deployed on East and West coast of India respectively. The Directorate General of Shipping has already instructed M/s Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) to place one ETV each with adequate salvage equipments and expert manpower onboard immediately. The base port for this shall be at Mumbai for West coast and Chennai for East coast of India.
(7) The Directorate being aware of the drift of M.T.Pratibha Tapi through the intelligence information from Coast Guard / Mumbai port has sensitized all concerned agencies of the Government. In view of this, the Directorate has requested such agencies like Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy, Maritime Board, Shipping Corporation of India and the State Government to activate their relevant contingency plans and prepare themselves as per the protocol prescribed there in. The Directorate being member of such plans has facilitation and legal maritime advisory role as it has no where withal in terms of hardware.
(8) As per the latest report from the MRCC Indian Coast Guard M.T.Pratibha Tapi is dragging anchor at very slow rate whereas M.T.Pratibha Indrayani is maintaining its position. The Coast Guard is closely monitoring the situation and it is under control since concerned agencies have been sensitized.
(9) The Directorate is also monitoring the situation on a continuous basis
Issued by the Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai.