MPT to salvage remnants of German ships wrecked in World WarII

Panaji: The Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) is planning to salvage the remnants of German ships, dating back to World War II, lying at the sea bed here and coming in the way of its project of setting up a fishing harbour.

The shipwrecks, lying in the sea at Mormugao harbour for more than six decades, will be salvaged as a part of the Union shipping ministry’s plan to construct a fishing harbour and a cargo jetty at MPT in Vasco, around 40 kms from here, a senior official said.

In March 1943, duringWorld War II, a group of British commandos had blown up German ships Ehrenfels, Drachenfels and Brownfels — off the Mormugao coast. Goa was then a Portuguese colony.

The shipwrecks have now turned into “mere metal plates” after lying under the waters for several years, MPT Chairman I Jeykumar said.

He said these metal pieces will be salvaged when the MPT takes up the work of constructing the fishing harbour and the cargo jetty.

The shipwrecks are coming in the way of construction of both the projects, the environment impact assessment studies of which are currently being done, he said.

Jeykumar, however, refused to give any commitment on the preservation of the shipwrecks.

Another senior MPT official, on condition of anonymity, said the shipwrecks have no value now as they have become corroded.

“We will have to break the parts of shipwrecks under waters and remove them. There are no claims from anyone, including the Archaeological Survey of Indiaor any museum, over it. If someone wants these remnants for preservation we are eager to give it to them,” the official said.