Vessel to be towed to Raigad this week; Will return to River Mandovi after repairs to begin operations as an offshore casino
PANJIM: Offshore casino vessel M V Lucky 7 could bid goodbye to Goa this week, albeit for a short term, as it is likely to be towed to Jaigad (Ratnagiri) dry dockyard for permanent repairs.
The vessel, currently anchored 500 metres from Miramar beach, is undergoing interim repairs and underwater welding to ensure that the journey to Raigad is uneventful. The repairs, an official said, are expected to be completed by Thursday.
“Repairs of the vessel are underway with the underwater welding in the final stages. The mixture of sand and water which had gushed inside though the bottom hole has also been pumped out, and the vessel is almost in an upright position,” a source told Herald. The quantum of the sand and water was recorded at around two metres, which not only tilted the vessel but also caused a major hindrance while pulling it out from the beach. Unfavorable weather and the tide had added to the woes delaying the salvage operation by over two-months.
It is learnt that the breach in the tank, engine room, and other parts of the vessel have been restored.
The authorities expect that the salvage firm VMS Marine LLC will tow the vessel to Jaigad by Friday or Saturday subject to weather conditions and the tide. The firm has already appointed the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) surveyor to carry out further procedures.
“The towing plan will now need an approval from the Mercantile Marine Department and the IRS, only after which the ship can be moved out from its current location,” he said adding that the 5000-odd ton vessel will undergo two to three months of major repair works to be declared ‘fit’ and return to River Mandovi.
“Once it fulfills all the conditions and is declared fit, the vessel will be allowed in River Mandovi and after following other conditions, it will be allowed to operate as an offshore casino,” a source at the State Secretariat said.
Owned by Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd, Lucky 7 – to be renamed as Big Daddy – had hit the sand bar soon after it left the Mormugao Port Trust on July 13. It then ran aground close to the Miramar beach and drifted towards the shore where it remained stranded for over two months. The High Court took serious cognisance of the crisis asking the firm to remove the vessel at the earliest. The court continues to monitor the case.