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On August 7 the 3,500 TEU container vessel “MSC Chitra” suffered a collision off Mumbai. The vessel dangerously listed to 60 degrees on the port side and all containers on the deck eventually released from the vessel and started drifting with the current. SMIT Salvage was contracted and the salvage operation had two objectives: to find and recover lost containers and, in addition, to remove the casualty from the port approaches. These two objectives were pursued in parallel. Challenges were that there was the 18 degrees list to contend with, together with the presence of many IMDG containers of hazardous substances. Within a few days, some dangerous cargo washed ashore. The salvage team working on 'MSC Chitra' benefited from special arrangements made by Mumbai Port Authority for the fast ­track entry through Customs of a wide range of essential salvage equipment and protective clothing. The men working on board 'MSC Chitra' wore chem-suits and breathing apparatus or filter masks (depending on gas concentrations in the various work areas). Despite the prevailing Monsoon weather, the work progressed well. All deck containers were removed and missing containers were located in the bay and then recovered.

During this first phase of the operation over 300 dry boxes were recovered, together with 95 of the missing containers. Mumbai Port reopened. Heavy oil was recovered from the bunker tanks

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