Major oil spill on ecologically sensitive Karwar coast averted
Geetanjali Minhas | July 27, 2023 | Mumbai
In a daring, high-priority rescue operation, the Indian Coast Guard, Goa, on Thursday rescued the distressed research vessel ‘Sindhu Sadhana’, belonging to the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO) that had suffered engine failure and was drifting perilously close to the ecologically sensitive Karwar coastline. The state-of-art research vessel was equipped with valuable scientific instruments and carried crucial research data.
RV Sindhu Sadhana with eight scientists and total crew of 36 on board was adrift after engine and total power failure, rendering it motionless and at the mercy of sea currents. The distress signal was received at the Coast Guard district headquarters in Goa at approximately 1300 hrs on July 26. RV Sindhu Sadhana was at a speed of 03 knots and approximately 20 nautical miles from land when the distress signal was received.
The vessel was close to ecologically sensitive Karwar coastline and posed an imminent threat of grounding which could have resulted in a major oil spill, causing devastating pollution to the pristine marine environment.
“Despite facing extreme weather conditions in the area, with a sea state of 5-6 and winds gusting up to 45 knots, the Indian Coast Guard pressed ahead with the operation to tow the distressed CSIR-NIO vessel. The Indian Coast Guard team took the Ship under tow for safely bringing the ship to Goa, thereby executing a seamless rescue operation. The crew onboard the NIO ship is safe and sound,” a statement by the ministry of defence said.
The Indian Coast Guard dispatched two advanced ships, ICGS Sujeet and ICGS Varaha, along with skilled teams to the area and promptly initiated measures to safeguard the ship, protect the fragile ecosystem and prevent the vessel from running aground. Both ships are currently en route to Goa and expected to reach Mormugao harbor on the morning of 28th July. The crew onboard the CSIR-NIO research vessel is safe and sound.
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