The MV Leela has been abandoned in the Mandovi River for some time now. During the week, the offshore casino vessel was finally towed from the Mandovi River to the Zuari River where it was docked. The abandoned offshore casino is owned by Gopal Kanda’s company, and had simply been left in place when it stopped operations around two years ago.
The ports administration department towed the casino vessel owned by the company Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd, which is owned by Kanda, who is a former Haryana minister. The vessel was not totally unmanned, however it only had the skeleton crew of five crew members, the minimum number of crew members who need to be staffing the vessel according the to the rules that are laid out.
Since January 2013, Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd has been given notice that the vessel needs to be moved. The notices that were issued complied with the Goa Tourist Places Act of 2001. However, the notices were not dealt with, even though it was made clear that the company could forfeit their vessel. In the middle of June, yet another notice was issue, and Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd again took no action to deal with the vessel.
Since that time, the ports administration has also sent a couple more notifications explaining that the unused offshore casino vessel would be moved by the ports administration. Not only was the vessel abandoned and beginning to create safetly problems where it was located, the vessel owners owed annual licensing fees for the past couple of years, which have been levied even though the casino vessel has not been in operation during this time.
The tug boat the towed the vessel was only recently acquired by the ports administration. In fact, towing the offshore casino vessel was the first order of business for the new tug. James Braganza, the captain of the port, said: “The tug with a 12 metric tonnes bollard pull towed the vessel on Wednesday.”