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Alang Shipyard Faces Setback as Pirates Steal From Incoming Container Ship

Alang Shipyard Faces Setback as Pirates Steal From Incoming Container Ship

Alang Shipyard Faces Setback as Pirates Steal From Incoming Container Ship

A major setback has hit the Alang ship recycling yard on the Bhavnagar coast, Gujarat, after a company reported a theft by pirates. Shree Ram Vessel Scrap Pvt Ltd (SRVSPL), known for dismantling India’s iconic aircraft carrier INS Viraat, filed a police complaint alleging a loss of Rs 45 lakh worth of equipment stolen from a giant container ship.

The targeted vessel, named DV Erica, was brought in from Abu Dhabi for dismantling. According to the complaint filed with Alang Marine police station, the theft is believed to have occurred around 5 am on Saturday.

Details of the Theft

DV Erica, a decommissioned container ship, was anchored in the designated waiting area (outer anchorage) after being towed from Abu Dhabi. When workers boarded the ship for inspection on Saturday morning, they discovered signs of a break-in.

  • Two ropes were found dangling from the stern of the ship, suggesting the thieves used them to climb aboard.
  • Missing items included:
    • A large copper pipe weighing 1200 kg.
    • Approximately 1200 meters of copper wire, weighing between 5500-6000 kg.
    • Valves weighing around 400-500 kg.
    • Bearings and other electrical equipment.

The complaint states the total value of the stolen materials is estimated between Rs 42 lakh and Rs 45 lakh.

Challenges for Alang Shipyard

Shree Ram Group chairman Mukesh Patel elaborated on the incident. He clarified that the theft occurred sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. The company had begun towing DV Erica from Abu Dhabi on March 15th, and it arrived at the Alang anchorage on March 21st or 22nd.

Patel highlighted two significant concerns:

  1. Loss to the Company: SRVSPL not only lost valuable materials but also incurred a financial setback. They purchased the ship for Rs 130 crore and paid Rs 26 crore in customs duties to the Indian government.

  2. Reputational Damage: The incident tarnishes the image of Alang and India as a whole in the eyes of international shipping companies. Patel emphasized the efforts made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attract major companies to Alang for ship recycling. This piracy incident could discourage them.

Piracy – A Recurring Problem

Patel pointed out a crucial issue – piracy in the Gulf of Khambhat. He stated that while Alang has obtained certifications for eco-friendly recycling practices, piracy remains a persistent problem for shipyards in the area.

According to Patel, their pleas to local police for increased security have not been addressed effectively.

Police Investigation

Inspector S. V. Simpi of Alang Marine police station confirmed that an investigation is underway. He inspected the ship on Saturday and acknowledged the challenges in determining the exact location and time of the theft. The ship was anchored far from the coast (30-40 nautical miles) before reaching the designated waiting area.

Uncertainties Remain

The investigation by Alang Marine police is ongoing. Key questions remain unanswered:

  • Can investigators pinpoint the exact location of the theft?
  • Will the stolen materials be recovered?
  • Will this incident prompt authorities to take stricter measures against piracy in the Gulf of Khambhat?

The outcome of this investigation will be crucial for both SRVSPL and the future of Alang’s reputation as a safe and reliable ship recycling destination.

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