At Mormugao port, exit WISL, enter Cochin Shipyard?
With Cochin Shipyard showing a keen interest in setting up a ship repair and dry dock facility at Mormugao Port Trust, the port has initiated the process to evict Western India Shipyard Limited (WISL) from berths that were leased to the bankrupt firm in 1993.
MPT has approached the Bombay High Court in Mumbai petitioning that the WISL floating dry dock and the grounded MV Qing be declared as wrecks in light of the threat they pose to the environment.
“Cochin Shipyard came to us saying that they are interested in starting a ship repair facility in this region but they asked us to first clear all the encumbrances before they make a formal proposal,” chairman of MPT I Jeyakumar said.
“There is business potential and we have to decide whether we should allot the berths through open tender or if we should discuss mutually beneficial terms with Cochin Shipyard.”
MPT leased out berths 1, 2 and 3 to WISL for 25 years to set up a floating dry dock and ship repair facilities. The lease expires on May 18.
“It is a serious matter and we want to remove the vessels by February 2018, before the lease ends,” Jeyakumar said.
WISL has fallen on bad times and the debt-ridden yard was put up for sale by its parent company, ABG Shipyard, which had acquired the yard in 2007. WISL owes MPT approximately Rs 12 crore as unpaid dues which are also in dispute.
MPT wants to declare the floating dry dock and MV Qing as wrecks so that the two vessels can be auctioned off.
“We are filing a petition in court because we once we get the order, WISL should not object later,” Jeyakumar said.