Asian Forest, the Chinese merchant vessel, which was carrying a load of 13,600 tons of iron ore and more than 409,000 liters of oil, sank close to the Mangalore coastline nearly 75 days ago. The owners of the ship, Shining Ocean Ltd, Hong Kong, are still not showing any signs of clearing it from the sea.
V. Ponnuraj, the deputy commissioner, said that, despite a notice being issued to the company for failing to comply with instructions set by Mumbai’s director-general of shipping, the company has shown no signs of removing the wreck. As per the instructions of the director-general of shipping, the company had to remove the oil as well as the wreck.
The company, in its carefully worded response, said that it was ready to comply with “legal obligations.” However, the response showed no signs of the company’s willingness to remove the wreck. When the director-general of shipping demanded a positive response as far as removal of the wreck was concerned, the company said that it would consider the matter.
Reliable sources feel that the current situation is due to the unclear Merchant Shipping (Wrecks and Salvage) Amendment Rules of 1975. Taking advantage of these unclear rules, the company might never salvage the wreck. But, the owner of the ship and the insurance club might consider a combination of laws related to environmental issues and get the wreck removed. The director-general of shipping is to look into the legal issues.