The Coast Guard ship that sank Tuesday was being repaired at berth,though repairs and refitting (especially when these involve the removal of side panels) on such ships are usually carried out in the dry dock,port officials said.
They said a Merchant Navy vessel had sent water rushing in through the Coast Guard ships open sides,causing it to sink,while the port chairman said the two vessels had collided.
ICG Vivek,berthed at 10 Indira Dock since March 20,was to be moved to the dry dock for further repairs. At 4.23 pm on Tuesday,when the side panels were open for repairs,cargo ship MV Global Purity was being pulled into the dock basin by a tugboat.
Since the cargo ship was loaded and the Coast Guard ship was lighter,the movement created waves and water entered the Coast Guard ship through her open sides, a port official said. It was a freak incident that led to the ship tilting on its side.
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Rahul Asthana,chairman of MbPT,said the Panama-flagged cargo vessel collided into the Coast Guard ship three times,and water entered the engine room. Other sources said there was no collision.
An inquiry will be set up to find out the cause and fix responsibility. Charges that the cargo vessel brushed against the side of ICG Vivek will be investigated.
A port official said at nine metres,the Coast Guard ship may be salvaged and used. It is not beyond repair or lost forever, he said.
The damage suffered will be assessed by international engineers who have been flown in from Smith International Inc,Singapore,and the process is expected to take about a week.
ICG Vivek eventually capsized and hit the bottom at 90 degrees, said IG SPS Basra of the Indian Coast Guard.
Capt H S Sahi,whose company was in charge of Global Purity,said it is a new ship built in 2009 and weighs 28,000 tonnes. It was carrying a shipment of 18,000 tonnes of pulses from Vancouver. The government has initiated an inquiry and things will be clear in a couple of days, said Sahi.
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