Thursday, August 16, 2018

Deaths Involving Two Oil Tankers Make it a Bad Week for National Shipping Line

Multiple Fishing Crew Fatalities Blamed on Hit and Run Whilst Explosion Kills Two
Shipping News Feature
INDIA – Not, it would appear, a good week for the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) fleet with two major incidents in the past few days involving two of the national carrier's ocean going Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs). An explosion in one of the cargo tanks aboard the 316,000 dwt VLCC Desh Vaibhav led to the giant oil tanker being abandoned by some of the crew whilst the resultant fire was extinguished with assistance from the Omani Navy in whose waters the ship was travelling.

Three of the crew were reported missing and subsequently plucked from the sea according to local media and at least one crew member required hospital treatment. SCI however has now reported that two crew died in the explosion with one other injured and undergoing hospital treatment. At the time of writing the vessel is still sending the ‘Not Under Command’ message whilst drifting off the coast of Muscat.

Unfortunately SCI’s problems do not stop there. In the much publicised case of the fishing vessel Oceanic which was run down by a merchant ship on 7 August, the finger is now being pointed firmly at the VLCC Desh Shakti by Indian authorities. This tragic incident, which occurred of the coast at Kochi, left at least four dead with 8 or 9 more missing and 2 injured the only survivors.

The vessel which collided with the Oceanic did not stop and of the four ships known to be in the vicinity it seems the 158,000 dwt SCI vessel looks the most likely candidate. The Indian authorities insisted she divert from her reported destination in Iran and return to Mangalore for investigation. Upon her return it appears paint found in scratches on the ship’s bow was similar to that of the Oceanic’s hull leading to the arrest of the tanker’s captain and 2 crew members.