Indian Coast Guard tows drifting oil tanker to safety

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Chennai, Nov 22 | In a swift and coordinated sea-air operation on Sunday, Indian Coast Guard multi-mission vessel Vishwast towed to safety tanker MT Anasthasia-1 which was drifting dangerously towards Kachall island in the Nicobar Islands.

The Coast Guard said that Anasthasia-1, which was enroute to Dubai with 24 crew onboard, experienced a total power failure since Thursday and threatened the bio-sensitive ecology of the pristine Nicobar Islands.

The tanker had approximately 910 tons of bunker fuel.

On receipt of information by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Port Blair, a navigational warning was issued and international safety net was activated for alerting merchant mariners.

Meanwhile, a Coast Guard airplane from Campbell Bay was rushed for assessment of situation and Vishwast, which was on routine surveillance off Nicobar Islands, was also diverted to the spot.

A Coast Guard team boarded Anasthasia-1 and repaired the Fleet Broadband Communication equipment, made the Automatic Identification System operational and prepared the anchor chain cables of the vessel for manual lowering.

According to Coast Guard, the vessel owners based in Kochi had failed to provide a tug for assistance.

The vessel was drifting dangerously towards Katchall island with the risk of running aground and posing dangers of an oil spillage off Nicobar Islands.

Considering the grave situation, the Coast Guard ship swiftly connected a tow cable and commenced towing the 243-metre-long vessel to safe waters.

Source: IANS

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