Kolkata: Smoke escaping from a container on board a Kolkata-bound ship led to panic near the Sandheads early on Monday.
While the Coast Guard has dispatched three ships to the spot and carried out an equal number of aircraft sorties till last available light, the Kolkata port has placed a tug at the Haldia Dock Complex that could reach the spot in a short time and help move the vessel. Till last reports came in, some smoke could still be seen though ‘boundary cooling’ was started by the ship’s captain.
The X-Press Godavari is a Malta-flag vessel that was on its way to Kolkata from Port Klang in Malaysia with 506 containers. According to a source, the ship anchored at the Sandheads, awaiting a call from the port and a pilot. In the morning, the captain alerted SPMPT about dense smoke from a container. There was also some kind of gas being released, the captain reported. “We alerted the Coast Guard. The tug was placed at HDC,” a Kolkata port official said.
A Coast Guard source said the container may carry acid used in batteries. “We diverted two ships that reached in two hours. A third ship was sent from Paradip,” he said.