‘We survived on biscuits and water’

Crew was ready to swim to the shore using life jackets if the barge had sunk: Master Murugan

Though they had enough ration on the barge, the trapped crew members of IBIS barge survived the Saturday night on biscuits and water, Barge Master R. Murugan has said.

Narrating the ordeal after the rescue of 27 crew members, Mr. Murugan told presspersons on Sunday that following rough weather on Saturday afternoon they anchored the barge near a reef. “I think it was a wrong decision. Following heavy winds towards the land side, the barge hit the reef and suffered damage,” he said.

Mr. Murugan said he called the New Mangalore Port Trust and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) control rooms around 4 p.m. on Saturday seeking help. Soon after the rescue of four crew members, ICG suspended the operation on Saturday evening, but kept their communication lines open throughout the night.

“We stayed on the top half on the barge by eating biscuits and water,” Mr. Murugan said, adding that the crew members were ready to swim to the shore using life jackets in the eventuality of sinking of the barge.

Shobit, a member of the IBIS and a resident of Ullal, said he remained in constant touch with his father Shantaram Bengre, a fisherman, his friends, and district officials. “Their words were sources of strength and helped us survive in tiring condition,” he said.

Javed, who headed a team of four swimmers from Ullal that was involved in the rescue operation, said he and his team were called on Saturday evening to swim from the Ullal coast and rescue the barge crew members if they jump into the sea. “That didn’t happen and our services were used by the Coastal Security Police today morning,” Mr. Javed said. Javed and his team went with Coastal Security Police Inspector Gangireddy in an interceptor boat. “We swam across to the barge braving the huge swells and rescued the remaining 13 members,” he said. While four IBIS personnel came in the interceptor boat to the ICG ship Amartya, the remaining nine were placed in a life raft and pushed by IGCS rubber raft Gemini towards the Coast Guard Ship.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:26:23 AM |

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