September 9, 2009. On this day Mongolian vessel ‘MV Black Rose’ carrying a cargo of 23,847 metric tonnes of iron ore and 920 metric tonnes of furnace oil sank five kilometres off Paradip coast in Odisha under mysterious circumstances when it was on a chartered voyage to China.
Out of the 27 crew members present on board the cargo ship, 26 were rescued while the chief engineer of the vessel lost his life. The Opposition (political) parties in the State alleged that the vessel was engaged in the illegal transportation of iron-ore and other minerals by forging documents.
The Opposition parties even alleged that ‘Black Rose’ was used to bring iron ore for sponge (iron) plants belonging to some BJD leaders by forging documents. The sinking of the ship not only became a major political issue in the State, the matter was even dragged to the Orissa High Court and, later, to the Supreme Court.
The sinking of the vessel was initially investigated by the local police and then by Crime Branch of Odisha Police. It was later taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In spite of investigation by the country’s premier probe agency, the exact reason behind the sinking of the cargo ship seems to be hidden under the waters of Bay of Bengal.
Even 12 years after the giant ship met its’ watery grave in the anchorage zone of the Paradip Port, the wreckages are yet to be cleared.
It is now proving to be a lurking danger for the fishermen of the State as many fishing trawlers and ships have met with accidents after hitting the piles of wreckages of the cargo vessel in the sea in the last 12 years.
However, neither the State government nor are the Paradip Port Trust (PPT) authorities seem to be in a mood to move a proposal to remove the residues of the ship from the bed of the Bay of Bengal. The PPT has reportedly spent around Rs 17 crore so far for clearing the leftover parts of the ship but it could not completely remove the sunken mass.
As per reports, around Rs 120 crore is required to remove the total wreckages from the sea.
Though the fishermen and locals have been demanding the removal of the submerged ship from the sea, no steps have been taken by the State Government or the PPT in this regard so far.