Ports Minister Michael Lobo blamed Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) for allowing the vessel Nu-Shi Nalini in Goan waters, knowing it contained dangerous chemicals. Lobo said some serious issues need to be dealt with. “How can MPT allow an unmanned ship to enter the harbour?” he asked. The minister said the problem today is due to the negligence of the MPT officials who allowed the unmanned ship to anchor in the port. “MPT could have refused to allow the ship to enter the port. How did they allow the ship without an engine?” the minister asked. He admitted that the condition of the naphtha-laden ship, which has run aground off Dona Paula, is ‘serious’, while efforts are on to refloat it. Lobo said the private company hired to empty the naphtha and salvage the ship is ‘in the process of mobilising its resources’. He said the ship has stuck on a rock in the sea while its condition is serious. “The salvager company will have to refloat the ship before tugging it away,” Lobo said. Lobo said the State government’s first job is to ensure that the ship has to move out, and after that an inquiry would be initiated against officials who allowed the ship. “This is not the right time to do investigation, this is a time to salvage the ship. I will ask District Collector to do the investigation,” the minister said.
The state government will ask North Goa collector to investigate the events that led the disabled chemical tanker Nu-Shi Nalini to drift and run aground at Dona Paula so that accountability can be fixed, said ports minister Michael Lobo here on Friday. However, the order for the investigation would be given only after the stricken vessel, which has nearly 2,400 tonne of naphtha in her tanks, is re-floated and towed away, said the minister. “There will be an investigation into the entire episode but this is not the right time to investigate. This is the time to remove the ship. Once the ship is moved out, the person who has done wrong has to be nailed,” said Lobo. When pressed for more details, Lobo said that the collector would be tasked with initiating the investigation and it was for the collector to decide which agency was best placed to investigate the incident which has brought a potential chemical disaster to the doorstep of the state capital. Speaking about the salvage process, Lobo said that Dutch salvage firm Marine Masters had begun mobilising equipment and personnel to commence the salvage operations.
“The work will start. There is a gap because after the work order is issued, they have to mobilise,” said Lobo. The minister also made it clear that since Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) and directorate general of shipping were supervising the salvage operations and issuing the work orders, the state would not have to pay the salvors to remove the vessel. “It is the purview of MPT to ensure that money is paid to the company that is doing the job. The state is not burdened on this part,” he said, before adding that the salvage operation has to be executed systematically.