Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Another Mystery Ship Fire

The ghost of MV Faiz — the ship that caught fire mysteriously off the coast of Bay of Bengal on June 2, in which the captain, his wife and two children died — has come to haunt its owner again.
The burnt cargo vessel MV Faiz, on board which Captain P.P. Shelley, his wife and two children were charred to death
This time MV Nazish, another ship of Pervez Rehman, was caught in a mystery fire at Kolkata Port. The incident occurred a couple of days ago. The ship was completely The vessel, which was supposed to sail to Port Blair on the morning of October 1, was parked at berth no 8. Around 10.30 pm on Friday, it was in flames. There was panic all over at the port. At least 18 fire tenders of the Kolkata fire services were pressed into service and it took over four hours to control the blaze. The ship was carrying a cargo of steel and pipes. Senior officials of the Kolkata Port Trust are tightlipped about the incident and both police and Marine Engineering department have started investigations. Confirming the incident, deputy commissioner of police (Port Division), Ajoy Ranade, told Newsline: ‘‘The vessel caught fire mysteriously on Friday night. Luckily, there was no casualty. Preliminary investigation revealed that the vessel was all set to sail on last Saturday morning. Inquiry is on in this regard. We have asked the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to ascertain the cause of the fire. Marine Engineering department is also assisting in the investigation’’. A spokesman of the Kolkata Port Trust, A K Sahu, pleaded ignorance. Friday’s incident has put a question mark about recurring incidents of fire in ships owned by the same company. ‘‘The fire at MV Nazish is the chilling reminder of MV Faiz, which left so many unanswered questions. Why is it happening with a particular owner? There might be an insurance angle to it,’’ said an official, refusing to elaborate. When contacted by Newsline, the owner, Rehman, initally denied that MV Nazish caught fire. When told that police have already taken up the investigation, he said: ‘‘Yes, there was a minor fire. Workers were loading goods and it seems that it caught fire after someone threw a lighted bidi on the ship.’’ He refuted the charge that the ship was condemned and there was any attempt at getting an insurance money against the fire. The MV Faiz was carrying 800 MT of pulse and sailed from Yangoan, Myanmar on May 27. It got lost after 48 hours. Soon after the Coast Guard was alerted. On June 2 the Coast Guard managed to track down the ship near East of Paradip. The 10 survivors, including crew members, were on life boats and were brought to Haldia. The charred body of the captain, P B Shelly, a resident of Chennai, his wife and two children were found inside the ship. Surprisingly, the ship, which was being towed back to Haldia by the Coast Guard ship, Chandbibi, was reported to be lost and sank with its cargo. The Director General, Shipping, started investigation but till date the ship has not been recovered and the cause of the fire is still shrouded in mystery.

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