The wreckage of the fishing vessel, which sank in the Cochin Port Trust's navigational channel, has been removed fully and normal vessel operations commenced with effect from today, the port said.
Movement of big ships through Ernakulam shipping channel was partially affected after the fishing boat, which was being towed to the shore, sank on September 19.
The channel has been opened for vessels up to 14.5 metre draft with effect from today, the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) said.
Immediately after the incident, the hydrographic survey team of CPT located the wreck and determined the safe depth in the channel.
Thereafter experts from the Indian Navy carried out bottom scanning of the area and confirmed the position of the wreckage and the location was marked with a buoy.
The fishing vessel sank while it was being towed into the harbour from outer sea by some fishing boats engaged by the state government's fisheries department.
It is learnt that the towing was initiated by the department on receipt of message from the vessel which had developed a leak while at sea.
The fisheries department had intimated that they would remove the wreckage from the channel but expressed their inability later saying they lacked the required equipment, the Port Trust said.
The CPT had blamed the marine enforcement wing of the fisheries department, saying the incident occurred when the vessel was being towed to the harbour by another fishing boat permitted by it "unauthorisedly violating the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code." A Kochi-based private shipping firm was engaged for removal of the wreckage on September 21 which started salvaging operations on September 23.
Foul weather was an impediment to the salvaging operations in the initial days.
Though the ship was hooked by a crane, due to the poor condition of the vessel, which was corroded at several places, those hooked parts came off while lifting it from the bottom.
After several attempts, the hull could be lifted and removed from the channel last evening, it said.
Thereafter a survey was carried out by the hydrographic team to confirm the removal of wreckage and suitability of the channel for navigation.
Normal vessel operations commenced with effect from today, the CPT said.
The CPT said the "absolute recklessness" with which an unseaworthy vessel was brought into the navigational channel of the port has caused immense loss to the port.
Movement of such unseaworthy vessels is prohibited as per the ISPS Code and the notifications of Director General of Shipping, Government of India, it said.
Though the direct loss incurred to the port for salvaging the sunken vessel is Rs 29.5 lakh, the indirect loss due to cancellation/diversion of ships during the last 11 days is huge, it said.
The CPT is constrained to approach the offices which have caused the incident to make good the huge loss incurred by the port, it added.
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