Mumbai floating restaurant sinks: Salvage ops to begin in 48 hrs, say officials

May 27, 2018, 07:30 IST | Suyash Karangutkar

Maritime board officials, salvage firm representatives and owners at site of mishap to take stock

Maritime Board officials had come to inspect the partially submerged boat on Saturday
Maritime Board officials had come to inspect the partially submerged boat on Saturday

Groundwork for the salvage operations to right the partially sunk MV Avior (on which Ark Deck Bar was being run) began on Friday afternoon. While the ship remains partially submerged, officials stated, it may take a couple of days before the vessel can be salvaged.

Officials from the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), the owners of Ark Deck Bar, and police officers started arriving at the site from Saturday morning. MMB officials did a quick survey of the area, while divers from a private company inspected the site around the vessel at 1.30pm. The supervisor of the company refused to comment.

Also read: Bandra floatel, Ark-Deck bar, sinks off the coast, owners say it'll cost 1 crore to salvage it

Early evening, the owners of Ark Deck Bar gave verbal approval to SMIT Salvage, a Singapore-based company that had assisted in salvage operations of MSC-Chitra in 2010. A formal contract, said an official from Ark Deck Bar, will be signed once a quotation is given, mostly by Sunday morning. "SMIT is globally renowned. We are confident that their work will be the best. We are waiting for the investigation and analysis, which will be done by them on Sunday," said Kookie Singh, co-owner of Ark Deck Bar.

Items salvaged from the top deck
Items salvaged from the top deck

Salvage firm identified
Representatives of SMIT, who were also at the jetty on Saturday, said that an expert from Singapore would be arriving either on Saturday night or Sunday morning. "A salvage in-charge will be here. After a thorough assessment, a call will be taken on how many divers have to be deployed. An inspection will be done of the underwater damage to the vessel and a preliminary analysis of the site will be done in the next 48 hours," said the representative. A member of MMB added that a proper plan would be designed by the same experts.

Speaking to mid-day about the situation of the vessel, the MMB official said, "The vessel has been grounded due to the impact and has touched the sea bed. A thorough analysis of the vessel will be done. Once salvaged, it will be taken to a harbour for repair and maintenance."

Also read - Mumbai: Near-Titanic moment sinks floating bar

On Saturday, a security guard from the dock, who did not wish to be named, pointed towards four pontoons (air-filled buoyant devices) that floated in the sea and settled right in front of the partially submerged vessel. "These pontoons helped create a platform for marine activities such as sand testing. It got fixed there around 10.30 pm on Friday. The MMB said it wasn't aware about the pontoons.

Samyukkta Singh

Owner's statement
Samyukkta Singh,
Owner, Ark Deck Bar
"We are deeply saddened and shattered by the unfortunate occurrence. From the outset, all our paperwork, licences and other formalities have been in perfect order, in keeping with every government and local regulatory requirement, including our maintenance procedures. In order to perfectly follow the safety protocol, the floatel was scheduled to be docked at Mazgaon on May 26. Upon receiving ominous weather forecast, the vessel was being readied to set sail for the docks a day prior, on May 25. The floatel was not functional nor open to any patrons when the incident occurred. The tumultuous undercurrent dislodged our anchor causing the vessel to drift and collide with bedrock. No member of the crew was injured, and all were ferried to safety even before the first assistance from the Coast Guard arrived. We hope to resolve all the investigative and salvage matters at the earliest."

Salvage procedure
Once the survey and analysis is completed, the procedure to salvage the vessel will commence. "The site will be inspected and the impact will be identified. It will then be determined if the impact caused a crack or a hole in the vessel. The gap will then be plugged with a stopper plate, preventing any more water from entering the boat. The water inside will be pumped out," said an official from MMB. "If there is mud around the impacted area, it will be cleared before the plug is put in place," a diver said.

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