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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Green Valley collides with Tiger Spring - at Hooghly river off Kolkatta

Much had been written earlier on collision – an accident at sea – the ship having a structural impact with another ship or floating or still object.   The one that occurred closer to Mumbai shore on 7th Aug 2010 involving MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia III had thrown to disorder the operations in Mumbai port and brought to fore the issues the oil spill and contamination. 

MSC Chitra was a container carrier and was outbound when the serious collision occurred.  Going by the official statement of MSC, a total of 314 containers could be recovered by Salvors of which 280 landed and are awaiting customs permission.  For the time being they were stored on barges. The toxic gas from cargo and hydrogen sulphide from deteriorating cargo have severely restricted the recovery of containers. There are still closer to 600 containers fully submerged. Efforts are being made to raise the vessel with remnant containers by pumping out the holds.    It is stated that during checks 779 sonar objects were found but only 42 were containers.  Not all containers lost in early days could be located.  

Vidyasagar Setu is a famous bridge on river Hooghly named after the 19th century reformist Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.  The river also known as Bhagirathi Hooghly is a distributary of the sacred Ganges and runs more than 260 km in West Bengal. Whether the city was named after the river or river after the city is a conundrum. 

The collision at Mumbai that blocked the navigation channels at the Nation’s biggest container complex is of a big magnitude.  Relatively now a smaller collision occurred at the entrance of the Hooghly river leaving one of the vessels lurking danger of sinking.  There was no loss of life and the channel was quickly reopened after the collision of smaller 917 TEU Green valley and 1016 TEU Tiger Spring on 23rd Nov 2010.    Green Valley was registered in Bahamas while Tiger Spring was in Gibraltar.
Green valley damage : courtesy Dinamalar (tamil daily)

The accident reportedly  occurred around 11.45am, when MV Tiger Spring was moving southward down the Hooghly after loading containers from KDS. The Hooghly is full of bends and bars. The collision took place in Nurpur, near the confluence of the Hooghly and Rupnarayan rivers and the Bay of Bengal, south of the port of Kolkata.  On the other side is Geonkhali in East Midnapore.  At this point the width is around  200 metres while the average width elsewhere is around 350 metres. 

There are reports that there had been no oil spill and Tiger Spring had steered to a sandbank which prevented sinking.    Green Valley reportedly was a Bangladesh ship coming from Haldia port and Tiger Spring  was Colombo’s.  Shipping circles also report that the river channel had become narrow with silt deposits in west flank.  Possibly miscommunication between the Pilots could have resulted in this accident.  

All 33 sailors on board are safe and around 15 tonnes of oil had spilled out – this could certainly pose localized threat to marine life.  There are also reports that Tiger Spring had drifted  because of a locked steering wheel.    A probe by the Port authorities to determine the exact cause is on.  

MV Tiger Spring suffered some damage to its hull . The hull of MV Green Valley was also punctured.   Reports suggest that  
Green Valley was taken to Diamond Harbour for repair, the 6000-tonne Tiger Spring containing 422 containers was left stranded. The spot where the Tiger Spring got rammed has been completely damaged with the containers precariously hanging over the water.

With regards – S. Sampthkumar.

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