Grounded Freighter in Vizag May be Turned Into a Restaurant

The Maa aground at Vizag (Naresh Penumaka)

Published Nov 15, 2020 10:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

A grounded freighter is set to become a restaurant and tourist attraction on a beach in Andhra Pradesh, according to local officials. 

The Bangladeshi coastal freighter Maa ran aground in Vsakhapatnam (Vizag) on India's Bay of Bengal coastline in mid-October. A commercial salvor's attempt to refloat the ship was scheduled for November 14-15, but it has been called off, and the shipowner has declared an intention to abandon the vessel in place. 

In some localities, this would be considered a negative outcome, but local officials in Vizag are prepared to welcome the wreck as a permanent addition to their shoreline. An Indian contractor has removed about 25,000 gallons of fuel from the Maa's tanks, so the pollution risk is reduced, and her hulk has already become a popular tourist attraction. Andhra Pradesh's tourism minister, M Srinivasa Rao, told the Express that the state may take possession of the ship and turn it into a (formerly) floating restaurant. 

"It will be a good addition to the already existing aircraft and submarine museums in Vizag,” Rao told the paper. "Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is optimistic that the proposal will materialize. We will proceed with a plan to get the project after holding talks with [Visakhapatnam Ports Authority]."

The new attraction could be bundled with a new tour seaplane project planned to connect Vizag with Vijayawada and Hyderabad, the inland capital of Andhra Pradesh, Rao said. The 12-seater flightseeing trips might bring more business to Vizag's waterfront.

The 3,000 dwt freighter Maa dragged or lost her anchor and drifted ashore in a storm on October 13, coming to rest near Vizag's Tenneti Park. No injuries or pollution were reported. 

The 2009-built Maa is owned and flagged in Bangladesh. She has a past history of port state control inspection deficiencies, including a PSC inspection at Zhanjiang, China that documented 23 nonconformities in 2017.