A team from Singapore-based company Smit Salvage unsuccessfully tried to pull the ship out during high tide around 4.30 am. It will try to tow the ship once again when the high tide returns in the evening.
With the towing rope of the vessel, Malavya 21, snapping on Thursday, the team had today emptied Pratibha Cauvery's water ballast tanks to make it lighter.
Authorities said rescuing the ship appeared to be a challenging task. "Fortunately, the area where the ship is aground doesn't have rocks. The rescue cannot happen at one go, but it shouldn't take long either," said a senior Coast Guard officer.
Other experts aren't that confident. They said two ships grounded on the Chennai coast in 1966 and 1995 couldn't be pulled out and had to be dismantled.
MT Pratibha Cauvery went aground near Chennai's Besant Nagar beach when Cyclone Nilam made landfall near Mahabalipuram. Six of its sailors died when their lifeboat capsized as they tried to reach the shores.
The Madras High Court has directed the authorities not to allow the ship to move out of Chennai after a petition by the family of one of the sailors sought an interim compensation of Rs 25 lakh and a final settlement of around Rs 1 crore for each victim's family.