Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) experienced a disastrous situation with regard to grounded vessel MV Nu Shi Nalini, a chemical tanker built in 2012. The vessel ran aground over a rocky area in Marivel Patches off Dona Paula shore, Goa. It was carrying a cargo of 2000 metric tonnes of naphtha, 50 metric tonnes fuel oil and about 19 metric tonnes of diesel oil.

Her engine room and pump room were flooded. The integrity of the hull was compromised and the ballast tanks became tidal. It was realised that the hull of the vessel had been heavily breached, as there were strong air movements in the tank that coincided with the swell.

If the vessel had not quickly been salvaged, refloated and then discharged, there could have been major oil pollution along with damage to the environment and property. Tourism in Goa could have been adversely affected due to the pollution.

MPT contracted Marine Masters BV (MMBV) after a due tendering process and they were assigned as the salvors to refloat the vessel and unload the cargo. MMBV mobilised an expert team of salvage masters, naval architects, marine chemists and divers.

MMBV conducted a diving and bathymetric survey while continuously inerting the vessel’s cargo tanks and monitoring the flammable limits. Within a week of the contract being signed, equipment was sourced and loaded onto a crane barge. Key items were an inert-gas generator, power packs, air compressors and diving equipment.

The naval architects developed a model of the continuous changes in the vessel’s condition, allowing them to identify the optimum time to refloat the vessel based on the tides. The ballast tanks were sealed and filled with compressed air to create buoyancy and for hydrostatic balancing to reduce the draft of the vessel.

Port tugs and an emergency towing vessel were utilised to tow the vessel into the channel at MPT and she was berthed alongside the cargo jetty. The vessel was refloated without any damage and her cargo was discharged using intrinsically safe hydraulic submersible pumps. The salvage operation was completed well within the timeline provided by MMBV to MPT at the time of salvage planning.

MPT recognised the timely execution of the project without any damage to the environment, property or persons. There was not a single lost time incident during the entire project. The port and government officials provided considerable support during the salvage operation. They expedited the requisite documentation and permitted inward clearance of additional salvage equipment that was brought in to facilitate the removal of the vessel.

The government of Goa monitored the progress of the salvage operation, with regular updates being sent to the office of the Honourable Chief Minister of Goa.

The salvage operation was completed successfully on 19 December 2019 and the vessel was then handed over to Mormugao Port Trust.