Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Navy launches emergency salvage operation on disabled MT Granba to prevent environmental implications off Trincomalee harbour

Sri Lanka Navy has launched an emergency salvage operation to rescue the disabled merchant tanker, MT Granba off Trincomalee Harbour.

MT Granba (IMO No: 8030269; Call Sign: TCSV9 and port of registry: Istanbul, Turkey) had begun sailing from Tuticorin Harbour on the 02nd April 2009 with Sulphuric Acid in an overloaded condition and was heading for its next port of call, Kakinadan, India. On passage, she has developed defects in its cargo tanks and approached Sri Lanka Coast off Trincomalee without any intimation when detected by SLN Coastal Radar. On investigation by SLN vessels, it was revealed that she was communicating with its agents to repair the vessel being in position (08 24.3ø N and 81 29.3ø E) from the 6th of April morning.

Subsequently, Sri Lanka Navy received a distress message from the Main Search and Rescue Coordination Center in Italy indicating MT Granba needed assistance due to acid leakage from cargo tanks to ballast tanks and the ship is in danger.

Sri Lanka Navy vessels having verified the legitimacy of the vessel approached the disabled Tanker and provided assistance to steer the vessel away. However, its crew abandoned their vessel and SLN rescued them. Naval personnel boarded the Tanker and found that its cargo tanks were damaged. Its Sulphuric Acid was leaking into ballast tanks. It has been found that this can lead to environmental implications in Sri Lankan waters and coastline. As such, the Navy has taken measures to tow the Tanker to deep sea with the help of the SLPA tug as it has already begun to list. The salvage operation is still continuing. Agents of the vessel are making arrangement to provide a salvage tug for possible towing.

The Navy has informed the authorities in Turkey of the incident through the Government channels.

Courtesy: SL Navy

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