Mumbai: While efforts to tow away grounded cargo ship MV Wisdom were suspended for a fortnight, thousands of people gathered at Mumbai`s Juhu beach on Sunday evening to get a glimpse of the ship.
While most were busy enjoying getting a view of the massive 9,000-tonne scrap ship, life-guards at the beach had a busy day as at least three children strayed away from their parents and nearly drowned in the sea.
"We have saved three to four kids from drowning today (Sunday). They must have been involved in watching the ship and strayed in deep waters," a life-guard said.
The traffic situation in the two km stretch near the beach was almost out of control. "It took us more than an hour to rush these kids at the nearby hospital for treatment, which otherwise takes only 10 minutes," he added.
Several people complained of the traffic moving at a snail`s pace. "It took me more than two hours on my motorbike to get away from the two km stretch leading to the beach," said Tushar Parikh, who visited the beach in the evening.
"I had to walk the entire stretch as there was no scope for me to hire an autorickshaw," said another visitor, Vikas Sahni.
Stall owners at the beach did brisk business. "The kind of crowd that I saw on the beach today (Sunday) is almost 10 times more than on a normal weekend," said a stall owner.
"Since the week the ship has been grounded here, evenings at the beach have seen many more people than usual," he added.
Salvage efforts to tow away the cargo ship were suspended Sunday till the next spring tide owing to operational constraints, a Directorate General of Shipping official said.
The vessel went adrift June 11 from its tug that was towing it from Colombo to Alang in Gujarat, where it was to be broken down as scrap. It is now grounded around five km southwest of Juhu beach.
"Due to engine trouble in the lead tug, there were operational constraints in taking up salvage efforts today (Sunday)," the official said.
"The efforts are therefore abandoned till next spring tide after a fortnight, when attempts to refloat the vessel will be made afresh. There is no apprehension of any oil or cargo-related pollution," he added.