Not possible to tow damaged naphtha tanker: Goa CM

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Saturday that it was impossible to tow the naphtha carrying tanker, which ran aground off the shores near Panaji earlier this week.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with officials from the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and the Mormugao Port Trust late on Saturday, Sawant said that efforts were being made to transfer the 2,000 tonnes of naphtha to another tanker to ensure that the gas does not leak into the sea.

“Towing the tanker is not possible. We will pump out the naphtha with the help of another tanker. The naphtha transfer operation will happen over the next couple days. The entire operation will take about four days. We will take all possible precautions,” Sawant told reporters here.

Sawant also said that divers would be roped in on Sunday to examine the tanker for any damages.

Earlier on Saturday, in a joint operation involving multiple agencies, including an Indian Navy helicopter team, carried out an assessment of the tanker.

The unmanned tanker Nu Shi Nalini was anchored five nautical miles off Goa on the directions of the Goa-based Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) and on Thursday it began to drift towards the shore of the state capital, due to strong winds and rough sea.

Sawant has already ordered a magisterial enquiry into the incident and said that the role of the MPT officials and the ship”s captain and owner would also be probed for potentially creating an ecological scare off Goa.

A statement issued by the Chief Minister”s Office on Saturday said the unmanned tanker, which ran around nearly 2 nautical miles off the shore, is currently stuck on a rock, and is carrying a cargo of 2,000 tonnes of naphtha and has onboard 50 tonnes of heavy oil and 19 tonnes of diesel.

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