Heavy rain and thick clouds could have precluded its detection: Antony

The abandoned merchant tanker, Pavit, drifted undetected towards the Mumbai shores, possibly through areas not covered by radars, Defence Minister A.K. Antony informed the Lok Sabha on Monday.

An analysis of the July 31 incident by the Navy identified three possible reasons: the ship could have floated through the areas of high seas not covered by radars; the vessel had sunk; and the low and thick clouds, poor visibility, heavy rain and rough seas, all because of the monsoon, could have precluded its detection by radars.

“MT Pavit was also not having an operational Automatic Identification System (AIS)” owing to the absence of power supply or batteries on it, Mr. Antony said in a written reply.

The ship was abandoned on June 30 off the Oman coast and all 13 Indian crew members aboard were evacuated by a Royal Navy ship before being transferred to MT Jag Pushpa for disembarkation at Sikka in Gujarat. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Mumbai, remained in touch with the vessel throughout the ordeal till it was abandoned and requested the owner to monitor it. “However, the owner informed the MRCC that the vessel had already sunk,” he said.

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