PANAJI, India — An Indian court on Wednesday gave the government in the resort state of Goa two months to begin removing the rusting hulk of a ship that ran aground on a popular tourist beach a decade ago.
Two judges at the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court told the authorities they had until June to tow away the MV River Princess, which hit the coast of north Goa during storms in 2000.
The giant iron ore carrier, grounded just off Calangute beach, has become a familiar sight to the tens of thousands of tourists who flock to the former Portuguese colony’s white sands every year.
Local people frustrated by previous failed attempts to remove the ship filed a petition to the court demanding its removal, expressing concern about potential damage to the coastline, marine life and tourism.
Sand and silt that has accumulated in the holed ship over the years has created an artificial sandbank, diverting tides and affecting currents, while corroded metal has been found on the shoreline, campaigners say.
The judges said they took into account a report from India’s Ministry of Earth Science, which said further delays in salvaging the vessel would weaken its structure and its presence had led to an “immense ecological imbalance”.
The state government in the capital Panaji, which has taken over ownership of the ship, had started a tendering process and a salvage contractor would be announced next week, advocate general Subodh Kantak said.