Mumbai: Bandra floatel Ark Deck Bar still under water, staff yet to find work
First class master can't take up a new job as his certificate is with Maritime Board; salvage operations will happen only post the monsoon season
For the last three months, Irfan Shirgaonkar, 39, the first class master on board Ark Deck Bar, the floating restaurant that capsized off Bandra coast on May 25, has been without a job. With two children in Std XII and Std IX, he is worried about his future.
Shirgaonkar, who is presently at his hometown in Dhapoli, Ratnagiri, has been receiving half his salary from the Ark Deck owners for the last three months. Unfortunately, while he has been approached by other fishing companies at a salary that’s nearly twice of what he currently draws, he cannot take up the offer as the inquiry is still underway.
Shirgaonkar said, "I have offers in hand but cannot take up new assignments as my Inland Vessel First Class Certificate is with the State Maritime Board, which has already recorded my statement but won’t release the certificate till their inquiry is over."
He said, "I was drawing a salary of Rs 50,000 per month and post the accident, the salary stopped. At times, I get paid Rs 20,000 or even less, which is not enough to meet my family’s monthly expenses."
He added, "I have an offer for a job that will pay me Rs 90,000 a month, but cannot accept it because of the inquiry. I had also planned to buy two fishing boats, but I cannot get into the fishing business either, as I may be required to be present at the site during salvage operations, which could happen soon after the monsoon."
For the past three months, the vessel has been lying submerged in saline water, so everything inside it (furniture worth over Rs 50 lakh) and the damaged wreckage is permanently lost. "The maritime board will not allow the wreckage to be left there. The owners will have to get the salvage operation started, most probably by the end of September. The vessel will need to be brought to the shore for inspection," Shirgaonkar said.
Advocate Manoj Mirchandani, who represents M/s PK Hospitality, which used to run the floatel, said they have nothing to do with Ark Deck Bar anymore. "They are not concerned about the salvage or scrapping of the same. My clients have shifted base out of Mumbai and are focusing on their hospitality business in Pune."
The State Maritime Board has been carrying out an inquiry into the mishap, which is almost done, but the final report will be ready only once the salvage operation is
complete and they carry out internal inspection, which might happen either by September end or early October.
Vikram Kumar, chief executive officer, Maharashtra Maritime Board, said, "The sea is rough and it is difficult to carry out salvage operations in such weather conditions. We have completed almost all other inquiries and only the crucial internal inspection of the vessel is left, which will happen once the vessel is salvaged."
Kumar said, "We have to find if the accident was the result of vessel failure or crew failure. Accordingly, the report will be ready, onus will be fixed and necessary action will be taken for the violations."
Also Read: Mumbai: Bad Weather Spells Doom For Bandra's Ark Deck Bar Salvage Operations
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