No takers for MT Pavit as second auction is also a dud

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The controversial 999-tonne tanker MT Pavit failed to receive any bids in its second and possibly final auction this month. The vessel is beached at Dabhol Port since last September with the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) continuing to incur maintenance and sundry expenses every month. Officials at Directorate General of Shipping are now considering if they should approach the International Maritime Organisation to order berthing of other vessels of the Dubai-based owners till the due is cleared.

The foreign-registered vessel had trespassed into Indian shores last July and was re-tendered this June after bids in the first round failed to match the reserve price of Rs 4.75 crore. The state maritime agency had to decline an offer by a scrap dealer in the last bid as MMB retains the vessel's title under 'sea-worthy' category and attributes it to be in 'good condition'. Another special report from the DG Shipping also confirmed MT Pavit's long 'sea life'. MMB has now approached its legal experts to get a "view" on the vessel's future.

The MMB had advertised on the tendering procedure after the first auction received poor bids. It had called for 'visits' to the vessel and also listed all her features after considerable repair work to the engine room. The vessel was abandoned by its 13-member crew on the event of 'water-ingress' off Oman before it entered Indian shores.

"Nobody participated this time. Till the last hour on July 18, no bids reached our office. We will now have to seek an opinion on the future course," said an official. The MMB has deployed security personnel to safeguard the vessel, incurring a monthly expenditure of Rs 25,000 and other sundry expenses.

The decision for auction was taken after Dubai-based owners, Pavit Shipping and Prime Tankers LLC, failed to respond to multiple notices sent under Section 10 of the Indian Port Act, 1908, which states that the 'onus' and 'cost' of the salvage exercise rests with the owner.

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