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Gujarat ports brace for Cyclone Vayu, prepare to evacuate employees

Vinay Umarji/Ahmedabad 12 Jun 19 | 07:44 PM

Ports along the Gujarat coastline suspended work and activated their disaster management drills on Wednesday as the state braced for 'very severe Cyclone Vayu. 

"Cargo operations have been suspended at all ports along Gulf of Khambat or Cambay and Gulf of Kutch with arrival of vessels at Gujarat ports being suspended till June 14," said Sunaina Tomar, Principal Secretary for the state government's ports and transport department.

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The state-owned Deendayal Upadhyay Port at Kandla sent most of its employees on leave after shutting work, said officials.

ALSO READ: Cyclone Vayu LIVE: 160,000 evacuated in Gujarat; Army, IAF teams on standby

Private ports and jetties, like that of Adani Group and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), have either suspended or scaled down work. 

"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 Jamnagar collector and SP," said a spokesperson of RIL, which operates one of the biggest greenfield refinery complex at Jamnagar and has a port at Sikka in Jamnagar district.

An Adani Group spokesperson said in a statement the company's staff at Mundra and Tuna ports will be evacuated if needed. "Our preparation targets ensuring safety of people, cargo and assets, as well as mechanisms for quick achievement of business as usual post the cyclone," the statement said.

The Adani Group has five ports or sites on the west coast including 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 the cyclone Vayu is passing well clear of the gulf of Khambat where our Port of Dahej and Hazira are located and we expect slightly stronger than normal monsoon winds and rain to affect these sites," said the group.

ALSO READ: Cyclone Vayu to make landfall in Gujarat tomorrow: All you need to know

At Pipavav, bigger vessels were asked to sail off to safer areas even as smaller ones were relocated to shelter areas of Reliance Defence. High-speed crafts of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard from Porbandar have also been moved to safer areas in Okha. 

The state government has already evacuated over 215,000 across 10 districts including Morbi, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Gir-Somnath, Jamnagar, Devbhumi Dwarka, Kutch, Porbandar, Rajkot and Amreli with the maximum people being evacuated from Dwarka and Jamnagar districts. According to Pankaj Kumar, additional chief secretary, Government of Gujarat, the evacuation was still underway with more locals being relocated to safer areas.

At Wednesday afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated that Cyclone Vayu was likely to move nearly northwards and cross Gujarat coast between Dwarka and Veraval as a "very severe cyclonic storm" with wind speed 155-165 kmph gusting to 180 kmph around afternoon of June 13, 2019.

"After crossing, the system is likely to move along & parallel to Saurashtra & Kutch Coast affecting Amreli, Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagadh, Porbandar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Kutch," IMD stated.

The state government has set up 700 relief camps and deployed 39 teams of National Disaster Relief Force and 12 new teams, six from Bihar and six from Tamil Nadu, have been called for additional support. As many as 400 jawans from Indian Army too have landed at Porbandar to help administration in case of an eventuality. The Indian Air Force too has been asked to standby for help.

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