As they say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and similarly, following J. M. Baxi & Co.’s ethos of “never say no”, we helped a bulk carrier that was facing the imminent danger of sinking due to the heavy ingress of seawater through a breach in the ship’s hull on the starboard side.
The owners contacted the J. M. Baxi & Co. office in the wee hours, requesting shelter for the ship so that they could arrest the ingress of water. Since the vessel was not far from the Port of Mormugao in Goa, J. M. Baxi & Co. instantly activated its team to ask the port authorities to accept the vessel and allow emergency repairs to be carried out. Permission was obtained from the port in Goa, but the owners contacted J. M. Baxi & Co. again and advised that the vessel had to stop urgently as she could not even make her way to Mormugao and was doing her utmost to make it to Jaigad Port, which is close to Ratnagiri in the state of Maharashtra. Although Jaigad is in a remote location with no repair workshops nearby, J. M. Baxi & Co. was left with no option but to arrange shelter there. Jaigad Port acknowledged the criticality of the situation and immediately agreed to accept the vessel.
When the vessel, a Bulk Carrier, dropped anchor at Jaigad’s outer anchorage, she was carrying 65,000 MT of iron ore and was en route to the Far East with 23 crew on board including the master. She was taking in seawater heavily and drawing a trim of 2.50 m by the head, with drafts F/15.10 m and A/12.60 m. The vessel being double hulled restricted the ingress only to the side tanks and water was not getting into the holds, which otherwise could really have made the situation much worse.
As per standard shipping practice, J. M. Baxi & Co.’s team sent preliminary reports to the various authorities, including the Mercantile Marine Department, the Directorate General of Shipping, Maharashtra Maritime Board and the Indian Coast Guard. Therafter twice daily repair updates along with the drafts was sent to the Authorities. This reporting continued until the vessel finally completed her repairs and set sail.
The master, after getting safe anchorage, continued pumping out the water and requested workshop assistance from us. A mobile workshop was sent along with divers, to assess the damage, which had mainly occurred below the water line. Despite the weather being bad, as the vessel had arrived during the monsoon in the west coast of India, the divers, with our help, agreed to carry out an underwater inspection without any further delays.
Considering the weather conditions, there were serious challenges in getting the repair materials on board, but with the J. M. Baxi & Co. team’s insistence and repeated requests to the port, all the materials arrived promptly.
The condition of the vessel was not very satisfactory and the extent of the damage kept on increasing as the workshop was carrying out the repairs, since fresh cracks developed in the vicinity of the existing damage. The vessel eventually stayed for 69 days at anchorage. During this time, whatever supplies were necessary, such as freshwater and provisions, were provided by J. M. Baxi & Co. despite the weather.
While the vessel was at Jaigad, J. M. Baxi & Co. took every opportunity to save costs for the owners, knowing the commercial losses they were facing due to this emergency under which the vessel had been forced to call at the Indian port.
Sometimes, somewhere a boost or a small gesture of appreciation takes precedence over any financial gains. The J. M. Baxi & Co. team experienced this after servicing this principal. Our support at the right time meant a lot to them and they realized the genuineness with which we went all out to support them when they needed it the most.