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Sunken ship Black Rose: Odisha minister now demands CBI probe

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 5:

Continuing with his tirade launched yesterday, Odisha Excise and Cooperation Minister Damodar Rout today demanded a CBI probe into the entry of Mangolian cargo ship M V Black Rose into Paradip Port, which sank in 2009.

Picture Courtesy; maritimeprofessional.com
Picture Courtesy; maritimeprofessional.com

Rout said the ship authorities had submitted fake and forged documents to anchor the ship in port area.

Since the Port comes under the Union government, the central investigating agency should inquire how the ship was allowed to anchor in the breakwater of the Paradip port without a valid license and permission.

He further said wreckage of the cargo ship posed a threat to fishing trawlers and the pilot ship of the big cargo ship and should be salvaged at the earliest.

The sunken ship poses a risk of serious accidentsf or passing ships, trawlers and other floating crafts. Interestingly, in spite of the investigation of the incident by various Government agencies such as Mercantile Marine Department of the Union Government, the National Shipping Board, the Odisha Crime Branch and the Jagatsinghpur district administration, no conclusive report has come into the public domain and the matter has been suppressed by burying the reports.

Nobody was held responsible or accountable for the incident. The Singapore-based owners and operators of the vessel went underground after the incident. The local shipping agent operated its business under a different name. The PPT had to cough up Rs 20 crore to remove the fuel oil in the ship which was creating pollution hazard in the coast.

The ship owners were reportedly operating the ship with forged certificates, which escaped the eyes of the international and port community.

“Even though the ship carrying 23,847 tons of iron ore capsized on September 9, 2009, it has neither been dismantled nor the wreckage of the ship salvaged so far causing danger to the environment as well as the ships coming to berth at Paradip port,” said Rout.

It is to be noted that a division bench of the Odisha High Court, adjudicating on a PIL, had also directed the Jagatsinghpur district Collector to take possession of MV Black Rose, as the ‘receiver of wreck’ and salvaged the wreckage.

While the High Court had directed the Director- General of shipping to provide all help to the District administration, including expert assistance and funds as provided in the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 for the salvage operation, the debris of the sunken ship still remained there even five years after the accident.