One dead six missing in Swan project accident

Vol 14, PW 15 (27 Jan 11) Midstream & Downstream

Swan Energy’s power project plunged into further controversy on (Saturday) January 22 when a vessel hired by EPC contractor BHEL capsized, killing at least one person with six missing, presumed drowned.

MV Logos Searcher flying the Panama flag sank in the Gulf of Cambay, 21 miles south-east of Jafrabad town in the Amreli district of Gujarat and site of the 2100-MW power station, as it was carrying out underwater excavation to install pipes for a sea water intake system. “The vessel tilted to one side,” project promoter Gujarat Pipavav Power Company (GPPC) tells us.

“Before anybody could do anything it started sinking.” Thirty-two people were on board the vessel of which 25 were saved by local fishermen Ismail Akbar Sorathiya, whose trawler Al-Akbari happened to pass by 30 minutes after the incident.

“Sorathiya offloaded all his fish catch and the ice into the sea and rescued 25 people who were swimming,” added GPPC. Coast guards scrambled a helicopter and aircraft to mount a rescue operation but could locate only the body of 21-year old technician Ravi Olly.

“Six others are still missing,” we hear. BHEL had hired Mumbai-based COMACOE (Coastal Marine Construction and Engineering) to carry out the work.

This is the second major accident to hit the project. On August 8, 2009, a gas turbine imported from General Electric plunged into the Shetrunji River while crossing a bridge that collapsed just 83-km away from the project site, leaving five dead.

GPPC has already missed three deadlines in this Rs2545cr ($543.92m) project to set up the power station at Kovaya village in the Rajula taluka of Amreli. “The first 350-MW gas based unit was expected to be commissioned last September,” we hear.

This was revised to December 2010 before another date of March 2011 was announced. “Now the project won’t be commissioned before May 2011.

” we hear.