A huge oil tanker ship that had run aground on Goa's Candolim beach 12 years ago will finally vanish from the spot by the end of the next month, as it is being broken into parts by professional ship-breakers, senior officials said today.
State Tourism Director Swapnil Naik said that the wreckage of MV River Princess, a 26 metre long cargo ship that had hit the beach, owing to troubled weather in the year 2000, is being broken and removed by a Mumbai-based ship breakers.
Naik said that almost 80 per cent work of breaking and taking away the ship in parts has already completed, while the remaining work will be over by the end of next month.
Mumbai-based Arihant Ship Breakers Pvt Limited was given the contract of cracking the ship. After several attempts to tow away the ship had failed, the authorities were forced to allow the vessel to be broken, despite environmental concerns.
The existence of the ship had also resulted in the sand erosion on Candolim beach, which is adjacent to the picturesque Calangute beach in North Goa.
Several measures like geo-tubes to control the sand from crumbling in the water had been taken, but in vain. Naik said that the company was awarded 180 working days to remove the wreckage as per the contract. "They should be able to finish the work within the given time," he said.
The company, which began the work in March 2011, had taken a break owing to the monsoons, which makes weather unfavourable for the salvage operations.
"We will count the exact working days that the company has worked. Sometimes, they had to curtail the work halfway due to gusty wind conditions, all the factors would be counted," Naik said.
Few local people also expressed concerns that the removal of the ship may create a depression in the area, resulting in the cases of drowning of tourists alongside.
Xavier Machado, a local, said that lifeguard services, employed by the Tourism Department, should be informed about the hazards, once the ship is removed from the location. He said that a false current can be created as the ship being tucked in the seabed for the past 12 years thus creating a hole at the site.
"At least for a few days, lifeguards should disallow swimming in and around Candolim beach," said Macheado, who runs a shack at Calangute beach.
Candolim beach has reported few cases of drowning in the recent past due to uncertain current created due to existence of the huge ship.
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