Indian authorities have managed to drop an anchor from the ill-fated general cargo vessel ‘SSL Kolkata’, which had been on fire in the last two days and abandoned by its 22 crew members on 14 June, off the Sagar Island at the mouth of the Ganges Delta.
The vessel was en route from Krishnapatnam Port to the port of Kolkata, carrying 464 containers, when it suffered an explosion to one of its containers and a subsequent fire in the early hours of Thursday. Despite immediate response of the crew and company to control the situation, the fire quickly spread to the rest of the containers, due to high winds, local media reported.
The Indian Naval forces winched down a Marine Commando Officer from a helicopter, who ascertained the conditions in the forward part of the ship and later called in the helicopter to lower onbord three crew members of the ship. The team managed to drop the starboard anchor from the ship to prevent her from drifting any further.
Thereafter the team prepared the seamanship gear for the ship to be towed if required, the Indian Ministry of Shipping informed.
All of the crew were safely evacuated from the vessel and are in good health, while there were no reports of oil pollution, the Indian Coast Guard confirmed. However, authorities were monitoring the scene to avoid an ecological disaster should the ship capsize on the sandbanks.