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Sunday, 7 August 2011

More on the mt PAVIT (IMO 9016636)

As quoted in today's Times of India:-

MUMBAI: The drifting of Panama-flagged MT Pavit to the Mumbai coast still remains a mystery but experts in the maritime industry feel the vessel may have been brought close to Mumbai on purpose and set adrift.

Veeresh Malik, expert on shipping and marine security issues, said, "There had to be some sort of intervention to ensure the ship stayed afloat. MT Pavit is not even in decrepit condition. This means the vessel remained afloat by way of tow or because some basic repairs were carried out."

The ship was reported to have sunk after it was abandoned off the Oman coast on June 29. The crew members of the abandoned vessel, which ran aground at Versova beach on July 31, were rescued by a US naval ship and brought to Kandla by Jag Pushpa.

Pointing out that the "winds and currents at this time of the year would not push the ship southwards down from Omani coast" towards India, Malik said, "It should have drifted towards the Gulf of Kutch. The fact that it moved in the direction of Mumbai leads to suspicion that it did get some assistance."

It is implausible that an abandoned vessel can drift for miles without being detected, especially in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. "If a ship is unmanned, then it would not transmit any recognition signals on its AIS (automatic identification signals). However, if a ship transmits its AIS, then somebody has to be tracking its movements. This is the standard operating procedure for owners and insurers."

A member of the ship breakers' association said, "After MT Pavit was abandoned, there were no reports to indicate that its owners/insurers were trying to have it towed or repaired. It is the moral duty of the shipping company to save the life of crew members and salvage the ship."

He said MT Pavit's owners could have easily arranged for it to be towed to the Oman coast for repairs. "It is a mystery why the owner did not do this as the hull of the ship is in good condition and there is nothing to indicate a fuel leak."

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