The ecologically sensitive Katchal island which is a part of Nicobar Islands was timely saved by the quick action of the Indian Coast Guard Ship ICGS Vishwast on 22 November. A tanker MT Anastasia I began drifting towards Katchal island with the risk of running aground and posing dangers of oil spillage. The vessel en route to Dubai with 24 crew onboard experienced total power failure since 19 Nov 20 and had approximately 910 MT of bunker fuel. Anastasia I (IMO: 9200964) is a Crude Oil Tanker that was built in 2000 and is sailing under the flag of Panama.
Upon receipt of information by Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Port Blair, a NAVigational AREA (NAVAREA) warning was issued and International safety Net was activated for alerting merchant mariners. An ICG boat from Campbell Bay was rushed for assessment of the situation. ICG Multi-Mission Vessel Vishwast on routine surveillance off Nicobar islands was also diverted. ICG boarding team embarked the vessel and repaired the Fleet Broadband Communication equipment, made the Automatic Identification System operational and prepared the anchor chain cables of the vessel for manual lowering.
The vessel owners based at Kochi failed to provide tug for assistance for the drifting ship. Considering the grave situation, ICG ship swiftly connected tow and commenced towing the 243mtr long vessel to safe waters.
Katchal Island has an area of 174.4 km² and is located about 305 km south of Port Blair. Katchal is one of the largest islands in the central group of Nicobar Islands, The highest peak of Katchal is 835 feet high. Recent studies have estimated the existence of 49 species of zooplankton in Katchal Island. Some varieties of sea cucumbers at Katchal Island fall under the Schedule-I category of Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.