A hopper dredger ship Veera Prem belonging to an Indian shipping company(Mercator shipping) has run aground near Nagapattinam coast of Tamil Nadu due to the assault by cyclone Gaja.
‘VEERA PREM’ is a triple suction hopper dredger manufactured in 1970 by IHC DREDGERS – KINDERDIJK, NETHERLANDS. Formerly also known as VLAANDEREN XVIII, VLAANDEREN 18. Its gross tonnage is 9640 tons. The dredger has now been grounded near Thirupattinam. The area is near the coastal line of Nagapattinam. So the mercantile Marine department authorities in Chennai and the coastguard in Nagapattinam have immediately been instructed to recover the vessel and analyze the damages and spills if any.
Ever since Chennai faced an oil spill last year, any ship-related mishap creates panic among the general public. But as far the information available till now is concerned, 10 of crew onboard are safe and no external damage to the vessel is seen.
The vessel had arrived for anchoring a day before the cyclone arrived. Since the vessel was in inner anchorage, the cyclone easily drifted the vessel and it lies grounded now. However, since it is a dredger it may easily get out of the mud trap that it finds itself in at the moment.
According to weather.com, severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranniyam in the early hours of Friday. The coast of Nagapattinam bore the full power of the severe cyclone between 12.30am and 2.30am(IST), braving a wind speed of 50-60 mph gusting to 70 mph that also brought heavy rain in the coastal districts, according to the Meteorological Department.
Thanks to the measures taken by the Tamil Nadu state government and the state Disaster Management team, the damage has been limited the unavoidable minimum. But the storm was so heavy that its heavy impact is seen on the trees and electric posts that have been uprooted and felled, roofs and huts are seen torn and thrown asunder.
News Source: Times Now