Chennai: Bringing a huge sigh of relief to shipping and port officials, the oil tanker which ran aground near here has been salvaged and is being pulled towards mid-sea by the towing vessel.
"The salvage has been successfully completed. The officials have completed the task very carefully without affecting the environment. Most importantly, it has been completed without any oil spill (from the ship)," Shipping Minister GK Vasan told reporters after inspecting the salvage operations on Sunday.
The 30,000 DWT (dead weight tonne) `Pratibha Cauvery` had drifted under the impact of high velocity winds in the wake of cyclone Nilam and ran aground on October 31 off a city beach. Six persons died when their life boat capsized in rough sea after the incident.
While the salvage operations were on since last Wednesday with the help of a powerful tug Malaviya, the ship began to move from its original location since last evening.
Vasan congratulated the officials of Chennai Port Trust, Marine Mercantile Department, Navy and Coast Guard and local fishermen for completing the task.
The ship was carrying 356 tonnage of furnace oil and two tonne of light diesel when it ran aground.
"Initially the ship will be on the outer anchorage of Chennai Port Trust. In a day or two, the Director General Shipping will decide on where it has to be taken for repair work. The ballast water from the ship has been drained making it to float," Vasan said.
According to Chennai Port Trust officials, the ship was carrying 9,000 tonne of ballast water. Since yesterday, with the help of eight pumpsets, the water was being pumped out to reduce the weight of ship.
The Shipping Ministry would pressurise the owners of the ship - Mumbai-based Pratibha Shipping Company - for compensating the kin of six persons who lost their lives.
Observing that the DG Shipping has undertaken an enquiry soon after the ship ran aground, Vasan said its report is expected to be released within a month.
Action would be taken as per law, based on the report, he added.