Posted on July 16, 2018 by Hannah Berry
A counter pollution operation has now been launched by Sheryas Shipping and Logistics Limited after their container ship SSL Kolkata was ravaged by fire last month in the Bay of Bengal.
As previously reported by ARX Maritime, the vessel developed a heavy list to the starboard side after suffering from further explosions after the initial fire. Officials warned that the unsteady nature and precarious positioning of the vessel meant it may break in two and were concerned for the 400 tons of heavy fuel oil which remained on board.
A representative from the company said that “While there has been no release of any fuel oil to date, plans have been developed by the authorities, salvors and other experts to address this eventuality. These include the deployment of absorbent booms and other countermeasures.”
The SSL Kolkata currently remains aground off West Bengal in a vast mangrove forest where anti-pollution operations have now started. The salvage team which is led by Smit Salvage have deployed their SMlT Borneo platform which will help remove the remaining bunker fuel, cargo, and debris from the site and a team from OSRL has arrived at the vessel to manage the counter pollution operation using crews onboard small craft trawlers. Le Floch who work as spill response contractors are also on site to provide help should any pollution be seen. However, Indian officials have reported that there are no signs of a spill so far.
It is anticipated that the removal of bunker fuel and the remaining cargo will help protect the surrounding marine environment whilst preventing any pollution from cargo or fuel oil. The area where the SSL Kolkata is grounded is home to multiple endangered species like the Bengal tiger and the northern river terrapin and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.