Kolkata: A fire broke out inside Merchant Vessel SSL Kolkata off the Sagar Island and at a distance of around 60 nautical miles from Haldia on late Wednesday night. All the 22 crew members were rescued.
The incident took place when the container vessel MV SSL Kolkata with 10683.51 MT cargo was headed from Krishnapatnam to Kolkata at around 11 pm on Wednesday.
After the fire broke out, there was no direct communication with the members of that vessel that seemed to have got grounded.
Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS), Rajkiran, mobilized from Haldia, was pressed into action for rendering necessary assistance after receiving information about the incident from other vessels
in the vicinity.
Ocean Valour with external fire fighting capability was also pressed into action. However, the fire could not be
ICGS Rajkiran reached the spot and the crew members were rescued. Steps have to been taken to avoid water pollution. Bengal government was also informed.
The fire on board MV Kolkata was of such magnitude that even the Naval air assets from Vizag had to be launched immediately at the first ray of daylight on
Thursday morning, in correlation and coordination with Coast Guard. One Seaking 42C Helicopter and one Dornier aircraft were launched from Vizag to assist in search and rescue operation.
The Seaking is especially useful in situations where other vessels cannot approach the affected one.
After having airborne for sometime, the message came that the vessel has been located and a search and rescue operations was started.
All the 22 crew members of MV SSL Kolkata were rescued. The Navy aircraft headed back to Vizag after the rescue operation.
The rescued crew members will be brought to Haldia Coast Guard base.
According to a press communiqué, KoPT is also seeking assistance of National Remote Sensing Centre for tracking oil slick in case of spillage.
However, no oil spillage or any personal casualty has been reported till now.
The exact reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained.
Moreover, owners of the vessel have also been requested to arrange for pollution response vessels and equipment as early as possible.