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Navy warship tilts precariously, 300 tonnes of fuel on board
Nitin Gokhale, Ketki Angre,
Updated: January 31, 2011 16:37 IST
Mumbai: A once majestic warship now stands - just barely - in less than seven metres of water on the floor of the naval dockyard in Mumbai.
Still, there is much to be thankful for. Nobody was on board the INS Vindhyagiri when the fire began in the immediate aftermath of the collision a little after 4 pm last evening. And the navy says the warship, worth several crores, can be repaired and eventually be brought back into service. 300 tons of fuel are on board the warship, but for now, the Mumbai Port Trust says there's no cause for concern over a potential oil spill.
Disaster has struck twice in less than 12 hours for the ship. First, it was hit on Sunday evening by a merchant ship on its way out of the Mumbai harbor. There were close to 400 people on board the Vindhyagiri - families of officers were celebrating Navy Day.
The MV Nordlake was exiting the harbor as the Vindhyagiri was trying to navigate its way in. The Nordlake steered suddenly to avoid another ship that it was communicating with. That's when it collided with the warship.
Those on board the Vindhyagiri were evacuated.
"When the collision happened, there was a hole in the boiler room and that is where the fire started. All the people were evacuated as it was close to the shore. Unfortunately the fire could not be doused, so the ship has sunk," said Qaiser Khalid, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mumbai Port Zone.
The Director General of Shipping has ordered an inquiry into the collision. The Navy has also filed a complaint against Nordlake on the grounds that the ship from Cyprus did not follow standard operating procedure.