INS Nireekshak joins seach and salvage operations for sunken Mauritian tug

by Editorial

INS Nireekshak joined the Mauritian National Coast Guard in search and salvage of the Mauritius Port Authority (MPA) Tug Sir Gaetan. The diving team confirmed the location of the wreck on 3 September 2020, undertaking underwater filming which was shared with Mauritian authorities. The ill fated tug of the Mauritius Port Authority was towing a barge to convey equipment being used for pollution control from the MV Wakahsio oil spill, before rough weather caused a collision of the tug with the barge causing it to sink. Out of eight crew members, 4 have been rescued while three bodies have been recovered so far.

The request for diving assistance was received by the High Commission of India at Mauritius following which Nireekshak’s diving team conjoined with national Coast Guard rescue efforts. So far, no oil spill has been observed from the sunken tug and salvage operations are underway. On the request of Government of Mauritius, the Indian Navy Diving Support Vessel INS Nireekshak carried out diving operations on the North-East coast of Mauritius on 3-4 September 2020 and located the sunken tug Sir Gaetan Duval utilising High Definition underwater camera in 18 metre depth. The ship extensively utilised its Side Diving Stage (SDS) for assessment of damage incurred by the sunken tug. In addition, underwater videography and photography was also carried out by the specialist divers and handed over to the authorities to facilitate further investigation.

 On 7 September, the ship deployed four cement blocks of 1.2 tonnes each around the casualty using its Dynamic Positioning System, onboard crane and divers which included night diving in rough weather conditions. These concrete blocks will be used by the Mauritian Pollution Response Team to fix booms at the scene of action towards containing fuel in the event of an oil spill.

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