Malaysian cargo ship drifts close to Odisha Coast

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A Malaysian cargo ship on its way to Vishakhapatnam port landed near the mouth of Chilika lake in Odisha last week after losing direction in a storm in the Bay of Bengal.

Police officials said the ship carrying cargo from Malaysia had unloaded its shipment in Bangladesh and was on its way to the Vishakhapatnam port to pick up a new cargo when its machines malfunctioned.

“The ship got caught in a storm in the Bay of Bengal and drifted towards Odisha before landing near the mouth of Chilika lake at Rajhans, a thin stretch of sand separating the Chilika lagoon . The place at which it landed is about 1 km away from the Chilika mouth,” a police official said.

There were eight people in the ship including 7 Malaysians and 1 Indian. “We got to know about the ship only on Thursday. The crew of the ship are getting help from local people near Rajhans. The ship will take few more days to get repaired. Our local police staff are there to help the crew of the ship,” he added.

On the other hand, apprehensive of possible spillage from the Malaysian ship, Indian Coast Guard has asked the concerned company to take measures to prevent oil pollution in the area.

In a letter to Gimhwak Enterprises SDN BHD, Malaysia, the ICG said the ship with 30,000 litre of diesel, 1,000 litre of lube oil and 200 litre of hydraulic oil has been anchored near Chilika.

The ICH also pointed out that spillage of oil from the vessel cannot be “ruled out” and asked the company to take action on priority basis either through a local agent or any other professional salvor.

Non-compliance would entail action under sections of the Indian Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, the letter said.

(Reference: Hindustan Times, Orissa Post)

Sea News, August 16