The fate of the aground Bangladeshi ship MV Maa, still hangs in balance, a month after the owners called off the refloating operation and issued a letter of ‘Abandonment’ to the Protection and Indemnity Club, United Kingdom.
While sources say that a Visakhapatnam-based private party had taken over the ship, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust has asked the firm not to take any decision, as the A.P. government has evinced interest in converting it into a tourist venture.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior official from the private firm said that the ship owners and the insurance companies have handed over the ship after a deal was settled, but further work has been kept pending, as the Department of Tourism, A.P., is surveying the possibilities of converting the ship into a tourism spot.
“We had the intention of refloating it or scrapping it. While refloating may be a costly proposition, scrapping it is viable, but certain clearances are needed, including from DG Shipping and MoEF. But now since the A.P. government is contemplating its moves, we have kept the matter on hold,” he said.
It is learnt that officers from the Tourism Department had visited the ship on three or four occasions to asses the possibilities.
The 80-metre and 3000-tonne ship with about 15-member crew on board ran aground near Tenneti Park on October 13 due to bad weather.
MNC Resolve Marine was appointed by the owners to tow it out, but due to some last minute issues, the owners decided to abandon it.
Visakhapatnam already has a Naval submarine museum (INS Kursura) and a TU142 Naval aircraft museum, on Beach Road.
The ship has already become a tourist attraction, with over 1,000 people thronging the spot on weekends to have a closer look at it and click pictures.