Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.
National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 15 December 2016
The very severe cyclonic storm vardah which hit chennai on 12 dec 2016, brought heavy rains and squally weather with wind speed reaching more than 100 kmph. the cyclonic conditions endangered the safety of ships berthed inside chennai port trust. at about 0940 hrs the ropes of port crane vessel ‘f.c. thangam’ parted and the vessel drifted onto decommissioned submarine ‘wagli’. consequently, the ropes of the submarine also parted. shortly thereafter, one by one the ropes of ‘mv akbar’, dci dredger ‘kaveri’ and dci ‘vh1’ also started parting.
All the vessels were frantically calling the port trust for assistance. consequently two tugs ‘sea lion apex’ and ‘ocean fame’ were pressed into service but with no berthing party available, the tugs were barely managing to hold the adrift vessels due to the squally weather. at this juncture chpt expressed its inability in sending any person for assistance owing to the severe cyclonic weather which was posing threat to the safety of life.
Considering the situation and possibility of the adrift ships endangering the safety of other berthed vessels, icgs varad decided to take on the herculean task of getting the adrift vessels re-berthed. the ship deployed two teams with additional manpower and ropes to take charge of the situation. chennai port trust comprehending the developing situation requested icgs varad to lead the re-berthing operation with both tugs under its command. the icg team rose to the occasion and with the help of the two tugs was successful in safely securing the adrift vessels.
The valiant act and courage displayed by the combined icg, in and chpt team in such precarious situation with the icg team at the helm has been lauded by the entire maritime fraternity.