SSL Kolkata fuel removal to begin

The pumping of 400 tonnes of fuel out of partially submerged cargo ship SSL Kolkata (IMO 9346574) is to be begun by the vessel Smit Borneo, which has arrived from Singapore, and MCS Elly II, which travelled to the site from Bangladesh.

SSL Kolkata ran aground off the Sunderbans coast after catching fire on June 13th. The pumping could not start earlier because of bad weather.

Meanwhile a crack on the upper deck of the affected ship has widened and the vessel has tilted about 35 degrees to the right. The crack developed because of the fire and a series of explosions. Later, water and sand entered the ship during high tide, damaging it further. SSL Kolkata, loaded with 464 containers, caught fire due to an explosion in a container while she was en route to Calcutta from Krishnapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh.

The crew, which stayed on board to battle the fire, was eventually forced to evacuate due to the intensity of the blaze. All 22 crew members were rescued by the Indian Coast Guard and unharmed. The vessel then went adrift and later grounded, finally sinking.

The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) is advising and coordinating with local authorities. A team from Oil Spill Response Ltd. (OSRL) is on site to initiate preventive measures in the event of oil pollution.

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.