ICG averts oil tanker running aground off Nicobar Islands

Port Blair: In a swift sea-air coordinated operation on Sunday, Indian Coast Guard ship Vishwast averted tanker MT Anasthasia-1 from running aground off the eco-sensitive Nicobar Islands and commenced towing it to safe waters.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said that Anasthasia-1, which was en route to Dubai with 24 crew onboard, experienced a total power failure since November 19-20 and threatened the bio-sensitive ecology of the pristine Nicobar Islands as the tanker had approximately 910 million tonnes of bunker fuel.

On receipt of information by Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Port Blair, the navigational warning was issued and International safety net was activated for alerting merchant mariners.

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An ICG boat from Campbell Bay was rushed for assessment of the situation and the multi-mission vessel Vishwast on routine surveillance off Nicobar Islands was also diverted to the spot. The ICG boarding team embarked the Anasthasia-1 and repaired the Fleet Broadband Communication equipment, made the Automatic Identification System operational and prepared the anchor chain cables of the vessel for manual lowering, the ICG said.

“Despite dedicated liaison of ICG with owners based at Kochi, the owners failed to provide tug for assistance. The vessel was drifting dangerously towards Katchall island with the risk of running aground and posing dangers of oil spillage off Nicobar islands. Considering the grave situation, the ICG ship swiftly connected tow and commenced towing the 243m-long vessel to safe waters,” it said.

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The timely and effective response by the ICG ship obviated the impending threat to the delicate flora and fauna of these islands, it said.

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