Naphtha from stricken tanker being shipped overseas: Goa CM



More than two months after an unmanned tanker ran aground off Panaji with its load of 2,500 tons of naphtha, threatening marine ecology off Goa, the gaseous cargo was, on Tuesday, finally shipped out of the state, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.

"Pleased to announce that the naphtha at Ganesh Benzoplast is being taken out of India by MT Global Peak. I reiterate that safety and well-being of Goans is our top priority and our government remains committed to protect the interest of Goa," Sawant said in a media statement on Tuesday.

Nu Shi Nalini ran aground on October 26 on the rocky shelf off Panaji near Raj Bhavan -- the official residence of the Governor -- after it was caught in a storm off the state. The tanker had met with an accident in a Kerala port after which its engines were rendered non functional and was subsequently towed to the Goa port.

After a multi-agency operation, involving the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, Director General Shipping, the Mormugao Port Trust and other state agencies, failed to re-float the vessel, a Dutch salvaging firm was roped in by the Union Ministry of Shipping to salvage the cargo of naphtha, as well as 50 tons of oil and 19 tons of diesel, which was onboard the stricken vessel.

The naphtha was initially pumped into holding tanks operated by a chemical manufacturing company, Ganesh Benzoplast, at the port premises, before being transferred to the vessel MT Global Peak on Tuesday.

The vessel and its cargo had triggered a political battle between the main opposition party, Congress, and the ruling BJP. The Congress, had accused the Chief Minister and the Mormugao Port Trust -- which runs the only major port in Goa -- of endangering the state's ecology by allowing the damaged vessel with its hazardous cargo to park off the Goa coast.

Sawant had earlier said that action against those responsible for allowing the vessel to be anchored off Goa ahead of a storm, would follow only after the cargo of naphtha was salvaged and sent away from the state's shores.IANS