We are monitoring the Chemical Tanker for signs of Diesel and Oil Spillage

Taking a strong stand against the lapses that led to the Naphtha-laden chemical tanker to drift and run aground close to Dona Paula, chief minister Pramod Sawant on Friday ordered the “magisterial arrest” of the captain of the vessel for abandoning the vessel. Sawant also issued directions for a police complaint to be filed against officials of Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) for allowing the vessel to be brought into Goan waters. The unmanned chemical tanker, Nu Shi Nalini drifted from its anchorage towards the Raj Bhavan, Dona Paula and is presently 2.5 nautical miles away from land, Sawant informed reporters. “As a precautionary measure, the captain of the ship is being put under magisterial arrest. Already we have given the instructions. A complaint will also be filed against MPT,” said Sawant. Sawant chaired a high-level meeting with state and Central officials, including district collector R Menaka, Captain of Ports James Braganza, MPT chairman E Ramesh Kumar, director of Fire and Emergency Services Ashok Menon and others. The 3,000-tonne capacity tanker was anchored without any crew members about four nautical miles away from MPT when it started drifting towards Dona Paula due to strong winds and rough seas. “We have taken all the details and we have decided on how to go ahead. The first step is to take the necessary precautions. At present there is no need to panic. We are confident that in two days the naphtha will be unloaded. The vessel is grounded on hard rock,” said Sawant. A team of revenue department officials are monitoring the situation along with officials from the North Goa Disaster Management cell. “As per law there are no grounds to detain the crew or the captain of the vessel since the vessel was brought as an unmanned vessel,” said a source who is familiar with the vessel’s history.

Ports minister Michael Lobo informed reporters that authorities were monitoring the vessel and the waters around Dona Paula for signs of diesel and oil spillage. “We are talking to experts from Pune and Mumbai since naphtha is highly inflammable. If the sea gets calm, then the oil and diesel will be pumped out from the vessel into smaller boats,” the ports minister said. The western coast has been pummelled by the cyclonic storm Kyraa, with Goa witnessing incessant rains coupled with cyclonic winds. “MPT is the main cause of this incident,” ports minister Michael Lobo said. “The chief minister was very upset and angry with them for allowing a vessel which was not in a position to come to MPT first of all.” MPT has already contacted the vessel owner, Arya Charterers Private Limited, and a salvage company to pump out the 2,400 tonne of naphtha that is onboard. Officials said the owner has agreed to send a ship from Mumbai to help pump out the naphtha safely.