Just a week after receiving permission from the High Court of Bombay to operate on the Mandovi River, Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd’s floating casino, MV Lucky 7, has run aground on the river in the Indian state of Goa.
The Press Trust of India reports that on Sunday night, MV Lucky 7, the sixth off shore casino vessel granted permission by the state government to operate on the Mandovi River, got stuck on a sandbar near Miramar beach while being towed from Mormugao Harbor to its designated anchoring spot in Panaji on what is referred to as the Indian state’s lifeline.
According to the news agency, four members of the MV Lucky 7’s crew of 19 had to be rescued by Coast Guard helicopter; one of the four was injured and the other three were described as suffering from sea sickness.
Deputy Inspector General of the Indian Coast Guard, Manoj Badkar, reportedly told Press Trust of India, “The vessel got stuck in the Aguada sandbar off the Miramar coast. We received a call last night to rescue the crew members who were in distress.”
Badkar said, no request was made to rescue the remaining 15 crew members, which included the casino vessel’s captain. He added that the Coast Guard was in contact with the state government should any oil spillage result from the grounding.
Aanand Madgaonkar, who is reportedly an expert salvager, told reporters at Miramar beach that the crew took an unnecessarily high risk in bringing the vessel to the Mandovi from Mormugao Harbor when it is common knowledge that during the monsoon season the Aguada sandbar area is regularly closed for navigation. The salvager reportedly told the news agency that the vessel’s owner could have waited until the sandbar is opened for traffic in September to bring the vessel onto the Mandovi.
According to local news agencies, a spokesman for the opposition AAP Goa party told reporters that the government was at fault for the ship running aground, having “overruled” the Captain of Ports’ advice regarding the weather issues. It was reportedly alleged by the spokesman that the decision by the government resulted from “huge kickbacks” from gaming stakeholders and cautioned that the government must assume 100 percent of the blame for any damage to the environment as a result of the incident.
The criticisms were reportedly echoed by All India Congress Committee (AICC) Sectretary Girish Chodankar, who urged the Indian state’s chief minister to volunteer a statement regarding the potential for an environmental disaster which could result from the 12k liters of diesel fuel contained in MV Lucky 7’s tanks. Chodankar reportedly told the news agency that on July 6 he had warned the Captain of Ports not to succumb to pressure and demanded that in an inquiry into the incident be ordered by Chief Minister Manohar and that those responsible be arrested, as reported by the United News of India.
The news agency reports that MV Lucky 7 is owned by former Haryana Home Minister Gopal Kanda.
In March, in addition to Goa’s floating casinos being given higher fees which are to be based on their passenger capacities, the Indian state’s, at the time, five offshore casinos including M/s Delta Corp Ltd (M V Horseshoe), M/s Goa Coastal Resorts and Recreation Pvt Ltd (M V Pride of Goa), M/s Highstreet Cruises and Entertainment (M V Royale), M/s Golden Peace Infrastructure Pvt Ltd (M V Boa Sorte) and Delta Pleasure Cruise Company (M V Royale Flotel), were given another six month extension to relocate from the Mandovi River to a new permanent location. It was the third consecutive extension the floating casinos received, after the first extension from April 2015 was prolonged with another one-year extension set to expire this March 31st.