Dredger sinks off Karnataka coast

Mangaluru: A dredging vessel anchored about 2.5 nautical miles off New Mangalore Port sank into the sea, New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) sources said today.

The stricken vessel, ‘Tridevi Prem,’ owned by Mercator based in Mumbai was in the outer anchorage for last six months after the company abandoned the dredging tender in between and the 13-member crew reported of flooding in the vessel on midnight Sunday.

The crew abandoned the vessel and escaped in their lifeboat and were later rescued in a joint operation by the Indian Coast Guard and NMPT on Monday. The abandoned vessel sank around 2.40 am on Tuesday, NMPT chairman A V Ramana said.

The port has geared up to handle the possible oil spill from the sunken vessel, he said, adding multiple agencies were working on it. The fuel in the vessel is low sulphur high-speed diesel which is not very harmful to the environment.

However, the port has taken all precautionary measures like handling black oil. The port’s pollution control vessel is deployed with booms to contain the oil spill and Coast Guard is also alerted, he said. District administration, Director General of Shipping and all concerned agencies are informed about the incident.

A police complaint has been filed against the dredging company and the crew for abandoning the vessel, the chairman said.