A crack has been detected on the upper deck of general cargo ship SSL Kolkata (IMO 9346574), leading the salvage team to plan on emptying the vessel of the containers and the fuel before towing the vessel to a port.
An explosion in one of the 464 containers aboard the boxship caused the cargo to catch fire late on June 13th near the Sandheads anchorage in the Bay of Bengal. All 22 crew were rescued.
An 18-member team from the salvage company SMIT spotted the crack during a three-hour inspection of the vessel on June 25th. The ship remained stuck in the shallow waters, some 18km from the Sunderbans. Bad weather on June 25th hampered salvage operations, with winds were blowing at 40nm per hour and heavy rain reducing visibility.
The salvage team reportedly feels that because of the crack it would be too dangerous to attempt towing the ship with the containers and whatever fuel left in the ship’s belly. The fuel in the ship was the major concern, with the priority now to remove it to avert the danger of a spill.
The salvage team was understood to be considering assistance from the Indian air force in shifting the fuel from the vessel.
The vessel had on board 211 tonnes of fuel when it caught fire. A salvage vessel from Singapore, a tug from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh and a platform support vessel with essential supplies and equipment have anchored around 3km from the ship.
2006-built, India-flagged, 9,956 gt SSL Kolkata is owned and managed by Shreyas Shipping & Logistics of Mumbai, India. ISM manager is TW Ship Management Pvt Ltd of Mumbai, India. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of Shreyas Shipping & Logistics Ltd.