Indian Coast Guard Tows Drifting Crude Oil Tanker to Safety
After days of monitoring the situation, the Indian Coast Guard intervened on Sunday, November 22, to reposition a disabled crude oil tanker that was drifting in an environmentally sensitive zone.
The Coast Guard reported that its vessel the Vishwast towed the Panama flagged tanker Anastasia I, which was drifting dangerously towards Kachall Island, part of the Nicobar Islands, at the southern end of the Bay of Bengal and located near the Malacca Strait.
The Anastasia I had unloaded her crude shipment in China and departed on October 24 making a stop at Singapore. The tanker is riding empty carrying approximately 910 tons of bunker fuel. The 103,000 dwt vessel, which measures 800 feet in length, departed Singapore on November 4 bound for Dubai, where she was expected to arrive on November 30.
Sailing with a crew of 24, the tanker blacked out on Thursday, November 19, and had been drifting since then. The Indian Coast Guard had been standing by with the cutter Vishwast and surveillance flights on one of its airplanes. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Port Blair, issued a navigational warning and international safety alert for vessels in the area.
According to Coast Guard, the vessel’s operator, based in India, had not responded to inquiries and had not provided a tug for assistance. When it was determined that the tanker was increasingly in danger of grounding, a Coast Guard team boarded Anastasia I making repairs, attaching a tow line, and preparing the anchor to be manually lowered. The Vishwast towed the tanker to a safer location.