After running aground near the Miramar beach soon after leaving the Mormugao Port Trust on July 13, MV Lucky 7, owned by Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd, could finally be leaving the Indian state of Goa this week.
The Goa Herald reported on Saturday that sometime this week the floating casino is likely to be towed to a dry dockyard in Jaigad where it will receive permanent repairs.
Just a week after receiving permission from the High Court of Bombay to operate on the Mandovi River, making it the state’s sixth offshore casino, MV Lucky 7 owner Golden Globe Hotels made the decision to launch. At the time, an expert salvager reportedly 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.
At the same time, local news agencies reported that a spokesman for the opposition AAP Goa party told media agents that the government was at fault for the ship running aground, having “overruled” the Captain of Ports’ advice regarding the weather issues.
After getting stuck in the Aguda sandbar, the Indian Coast Guard received a distress call and four members of the MV Lucky 7’s crew of 19 had to be rescued by Coast Guard helicopter.
Since then, the vessel has been anchored some 500 meters from Miramar beach where it is reportedly undergoing underwater welding and interim repairs to ensure an uneventful journey to the dockyard in Jaigad. According to the Goa Herald, the repairs the vessel is receiving to prepare it to be moved should be completed by Thursday.
A source reportedly told the Herald that the repairs, including the underwater welding, are in the final stages. A sand and water mixture of about two meters, which had apparently made its way inside the vessel through a hole in the bottom causing it to tilt, has also been pumped out, with the vessel now in an upright position. That, continued bad weather and the tide added over two months to the delays of the salvage operation, according to the report.
Depending on weather conditions and the tide, authorities expect the 5k-ton vessel to be towed, upon approval by the Mercantile Marine Department and the IRS, to Jaigad by salvage firm VMS Marine LLC by either Friday or Saturday. There is will reportedly undergo two to three months’ worth of major repair works before being declared “fit” and returned to River Mandovi.
However, MV Lucky 7, to be renamed as Big Daddy, along with all of Goa’s shipboard casinos, are operating on borrowed time, after in July, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar declared that the floating casinos would have to be moved ashore by 2020.