Evacuated ship sinking off coast of India
According to Indian media reports, officials involved in the salvage operation near the Sundarbans and the maritime border line between India and Bangladesh said Wednesday that the ship had begun sinking.
The ship is in shallow waters off the coast of India. But a number of containers had fallen from the ship and were floating in the area, posing a danger to other vessels. An additional concern is the nearly 211 tonnes of heavy fuel oil in the vessel’s tanks. According to The Times of India, the Kolkata also is carrying nearly 200 tonnes of other oil.
Efforts to remove the fuel and other oil were thwarted because of ensuing explosions and fires, The Times of India said. An Indian Coast Guard official told The Telegraph on Thursday that a crack in the upper deck has widened and the ship has tilted about 35 degrees to the right. .
“Now water and sand are entering the ship during high tide, damaging it further,” that official said.
The ship was off Sagar Island, near the entrance to the Sundarbans, an ecologically sensitive network of mangrove forests and home to one of the largest single populations of Bengal tigers. .
The vessel reportedly was carrying 464 containers when the fire broke out. According to media reports, up to 70 percent of the ship’s cargo deck was aflame at one point. All 22 crew members, however, were safely evacuated by the Indian Coast Guard. ■