Fate of Panama flag-bearing cargo ship not known
An 18-member crew of a China-bound cargo vessel that was feared sunk by cyclone Phailin has been rescued 42 km north-east of Balasore in Odisha after a 40-hour search, the Coast Guard said on Monday. A team of the Balasore police, guided by a Dornier aircraft of the Coast Guard, located the lifeboat of the crew in the morning. They were “well and hearty,” an official of the Coast Guard Regional Headquarters said here.
The official clarified that the crew of m.v. Bingo comprised 17 Chinese and an Indonesian and, contrary to what he had said on Sunday, there were no Burmese.
“The Kolkata Port Trust is trying to send the crew members back to their countries,” said Chairman R.P.S Kalhon.
The crew abandoned the ship around 3.45 p.m. on October 12 fearing that it might sink as the sea turned rough with the cyclone approaching the Odisha coast, as per information provided by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Chennai, to the Coast Guard.
The lifeboat was spotted by local fishermen near the shore, between Digha in West Bengal and Chandipur in the neighbouring Odisha. Earlier, it was sighted about 45 nautical miles east of the Sagar Islands by the Coast Guard rescue team scanning the area from a Dornier aircraft.
Rescue operations were hampered by bad weather, according to the Coast Guard.
Asked whether the cargo ship had sunk, Mr. Kalhon said it was not located yet. A naval ship equipped with sonar facility, expected from Visakhapatnam within a day, would pinpoint the location on the seabed if the cargo vessel had sunk, he said.
The Panama flag-bearing ship, carrying iron ore, was last located by the Coast Guard on Saturday, 22 nautical miles from the Sagar Islands.