Cyclone Vayu: Gujarat suspends port operations in Gulf of Cambay

As Gujarat prepares to face the worst cyclone impact since 1998, the state government on Wednesday suspended all port operations in the Gulf of Cambay, along the Saurashtra and South Gujarat coast. The country's largest port operator, Adani Ports, has activated a disaster management plan at all its assets along the Gujarat coast, including Hazira, Dahej, Tuna and Mundra ports.

Cyclone Vayu, which originated in the Arabian Sea, is currently positioned about 300 km south of Veraval in Saurashtra. The IMD's latest update reveals that it likely to move nearly northward and cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva as a very severe cyclone, with wind speeds of 145-155 kmph, gusting to 170 kmph, by Thursday morning.

The region houses important industrial establishments, including Reliance Industries’ largest petroleum refinery complex at Jamnagar, besides LNG and other cargo port operations of public and private players.

A statement from Reliance Industries on its cyclone preparedness said, "All required precautionary and safety measures have been taken at the refinery complex of RIL at Jamnagar with regard to the Cyclone Vayu. RIL also has a master plan in place to assist all nearby villages in coordination with the Jamnagar Collector and SP. The RIL team is working in full coordination with all concerned state and central government agencies."

Speaking to Businessline, Sunaina Tomar, Principal Secretary - Ports and Transport department, Gujarat, said cargo operations at all ports in the Gulf of Khambat (Cambay) have been temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure.

"We have withdrawn all workers from the ports. Ports, including the upcoming port at Chhara, Pipavav, Swan Energy's Floating LNG units, Reliance Sikka Jetties, Salaya port, Okha, Porbandar and many other small and medium ports, have been asked to suspend operations."

Tomar added that vessels docked at the ports have been sailed off to safer places. "All FSRUs, SPM jetties have been closed. And vessels are being sailed off."

In Pipavav two big vessels had been sailed off, while smaller crafts had been put in shelter areas of Reliance Defence.

In Porbandar, high-speed crafts of the Navy and Coast Guard have been moved to safe areas in Okha. An LNG vessel in Dahej was sailed off today, while a chemical vessel from Reliance's port would also be sailed off.

"We have put a chief nautical officer to monitor operations at Okha. And a superintending engineer has been sent to Porbandar. We have ready back-up batteries and all radars at the ports are functional.

An official from the Deen Dayal Port Trust at Kandla in the Gulf of Kutch said port operations had been temporarily suspended and all employees had been sent on leave. "All ships have been sent off to safer places. All the jetties under the Port authority, including at Vadinar, have been shut. We are evacuating people and residents from the nearby areas in Kandla," the official said.

Adani Group, which operates the country's largest port at Mundra said, "We have a total of 5 ports or sites on the West coast -- Mormugao, Hazira, Dahej, Tuna and Mundra. As per the existing position of Cyclone Vayu, Goa is well clear and except for rains and increased wind, there has been no adverse effect."

"The path of Cyclone Vayu passes well clear of the Gulf of Khambat, where our Ports of Dahej and Hazira are located and we expect slightly stronger than normal monsoon winds and rain to affect these sites. Our Mundra and Tuna ports will be closest to the path, a disaster management plan has been put into action and all the necessary precautions are being put in place, including evacuation of staff, if the need arises."

“Our preparation targets ensuring safety of people, cargo and assets, as well as mechanisms for quick achievement of business as usual post the cyclone.”