Mumbai: Two barrels of diesel wash up at Versova beach, raise eyebrows

Lifeguards handed them over to the police; authorities suspect the barrels may have fallen off a ship and drifted ashore

While Mumbai is on alert, two barrels containing about 400 litres of diesel washed ashore Picnic Cottage beach at Versova on Monday, raising questions about where they may have come from. The barrels were spotted by lifeguards posted at the beach, who handed them to the police.

Lifeguards Ravi Wadhave (in blue) and Kiran Ganjve with the barrels found at Picnic Cottage beach at Versova
Lifeguards Ravi Wadhave (in blue) and Kiran Ganjve with the barrels found at Picnic Cottage beach at Versova

Senior lifeguard Ravi Wadhave, along with two other lifeguards, Kiran Ganjve and Vinod Khade, has been posted on the beach for many months, and was patrolling when a person pointed out two iron barrels that had washed ashore.

Lifeguards point to the spot where the barrels were found
Lifeguards point to the spot where the barrels were found

Suspecting that there could be inflammable material or explosives inside the barrels, the lifeguards first made sure that no one went near them. Many people from the nearby area had started coming to the beach to see the barrels. But later the police and lifeguards kept them away from the location.

Seeing the barrels
“At around 4.30 pm on Monday, another lifeguard and I were taking a round on the beach when a person informed us that some barrel had washed ashore. We immediately went there and saw that there were two barrels of around 200 litres each, filled with some liquid.

With the help of two other lifeguards, Kiran Ganjve and Vinod Khade, we pushed the barrels away from the water and immediately informed the Versova police station,” said Wadhave. The lifeguards also informed the fire brigade officials and the police reached the spot and recorded their statements.

After this, officials took the barrels to the Versova police station. The police later said the barrels were filled with diesel. When questioned if they had found any such barrels earlier also, Ganjve said, “I have been posted at this beach from past four years but have never found such barrels earlier.

There are chances that these barrels might have fallen from some ship, but we cannot say where they have come from. Already there is an alert and we did not want to take chances, and so we immediately informed the police.”

Few people asked the lifeguards to give them the barrels, and offered them money also, as everyone was confident that there was fuel inside them, and it was a chance to buy it at cheaper rates. But the lifeguards refused to give the barrels, as they wanted to hand them over to Versova police.

Police speak
Senior Police Inspector Ravindranath Pawar from Versova police station said, “On Monday evening the fire brigade lifeguards posted at Picnic Cottage beach near Versova saw two barrels that had washed ashore, and informed us.

Our team immediately went to the spot. There is nothing suspicious about these barrels as they might have fallen from a ship and come to the sea shore. We have the barrels in custody and investigations are on.”

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