Kolkata, June 14 : A merchant ship MV SSL KOLKATA, an Indian flag container vessel caught fire in the Bay of Bengal off the coast in the wee hours of Thursday with 22 crew members onboard.
The container carrier was on a coastal voyage from Krishnapatnam to Kolkata with 22 crew (all Indians) and 464 containers. It was an explosion that triggered the fire on the ship on June 13.
All the 22 crew members were rescued by the Indian Coast Guard ship Rajkiran which launched a massive fire-fighting and rescue operation.
The vessel caught fire last night, while the Indian Coast Guard ship Rajkiran from Haldia & Coast Dornier reached the spot within three hours of the distress call.But the fire is yet to be brought under control due to the rough sea wind.
Inspector General Kuldeep Singh Sheoran, Coast Guard Commander said “No spill of fuel as of now, however,if such has happened coast guard will take care of it. Merchant Vessel SSL KOLKATA was carrying 464 containers. We have successfully rescued all the crew members and they are safe.”
ICG (North East Regional Headquarters) Chief Staff Officer (Aviation) and spokesperson Pradeep Sundriyal informed that the fire was reported on board the ship around 55 nautical miles off Sands Head at 12.05 am on June 14.
“On receipt of the message an ICG ship immediately sailed with despatch from Haldia. Due to very rough sea and strong winds and inclement weather, the fire spread very fast like wildfire,” he said.
For efficient rescue operations, the Indian Navy’s air assets from Vizag had to be pressed into action.The Dornier is used for sighting the distressed vessel .