Ship part

Shipbreaking recommended for the ship stranded off Maha since June 2020

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS): Nearly two years after drifting during Cyclone Nisarg and running aground off Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, the damaged commercial tanker MT ‘Basra Star’ has finally been recommended for clearance from the Ministry of Environment for shipbreaking at its current location.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change’s expert review committee reviewed the proposal at its meeting last week in March and recommended clearance, documents now available show.

The MT Basra, built in 1986, 75 meters long and 11.5 meters wide, had arrived from the United Arab Emirates at Jaigad in Ratnagiri for cargo discharge and was making its return journey on May 29, 2020. However, in Due to the Cyclone Nisarg warning, it was allowed to stay at Ratnagiri inner anchorage on June 3, 2020. The fierce cyclone hit the west coast bringing massive sea storms and a sea surge that caused the ship to drift with her anchor towards Bhati Mirya Head Bay, about 1.5 km from Ratnagiri.

“Due to the drift, the hull as well as the inner bottom of the ship were badly damaged and therefore cannot be sailed or towed to a shipbreaking yard. The ship does not have sufficient buoyancy to float. The bottom of the engine room, pump room and steering compartment were damaged leading to flooding of the compartments… therefore must be broken ‘as is on site'”, said the representative of the business at the EAC.

The company’s proposed project to the EAC was to recycle Basra Star in the safest and most environmentally sustainable way, otherwise it poses a threat to the marine environment. The project attracted the relevant provisions of the Coastal Regulation Area Notification of 2011.

The company promised that it would be a short-term project of three to four months without any permanent establishment. The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) and the Mumbai Shipping Authority (Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways) have both cleared the dismantling of the vehicle with validity till May 25.

The EAC considered the proposal at its 293rd meeting on 24-25 March and recommended the proposal to award Terms of Reference (ToR) with certain specific conditions, in addition to any applicable standard conditions for such projects. Specific conditions include complete removal of engine oil/lubricants from vessel, no paint or debris deposits, no seafloor/surface contamination and water source details, waste generation, the treatment system and disposal as well as the water balance.