Mumbai Local

Coast Guard rescue 8 from sinking dhow off Murud

ICGS Samrat closing in ojn MSV Sarojini on Friday  

In a dramatic late-night operation, the Coast Guard saved the lives of eight crew members after their overloaded dhow developed a crack in its hull. The Coast Guard received a distress signal from the MSV Sarojini on December 25 that was shipping water, around 12 nautical miles (20 km) west of Murud and 50 km south of Mumbai.

Coast guard authorities have now raised questions on the scrutiny procedures carried out by the Gujarat Maritime Board before allowing the vessel to set sail.

According to the Union Ministry of Defence, Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Samrat was on patrol when it received a VHF distress alert around 6.45pm from the Sarojini , which was travelling from Porbandar in Gujarat to Beypore in Kerala with a 430-tonne cargo of soda ash. The merchant vessel, manned by an eight-member crew from Gujarat, developed a crack in its hull and water began flooding the engine room.

On receiving the distress call, ICGS Samrat proceeded to the location and alerted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Mumbai as well as the Coast Guard Regional Headquarters (West). Samrat also coordinated with MT Harsh Prem , which was about 25 km away from the beleagured vessel.

The MT Harsh Prem arrived in the vicinity of the distressed vessel first, but the shallow waters restricted its movement.

The vessel was monitoring the situation and preparing for the rescue mission when the Samrat , travelling at maximum speed, reached the spot around 9 pm.

After thoroughly briefing the Sarojini ’s crew on the rescue plan, ICGS Samrat deployed its safety boat for the operation, and despite the darkness and weather conditions, all eight were safely rescued and brought onboard.

A senior Coast Guard official told The Hindu : “It is the responsibility of the Maritime Board of the merchant vessel’s point of origin to check if it was overloaded or not and whether it was certified seaworthy. For this kind of incident to occur in the absence of a storm out at sea completely unacceptable.”

He added, “We will now write to the DG (Shipping) as per procedure to initiate a Casualty Investigation. The challenge wasn’t about the circumstances of the operation, but the limited availability of time as the vessel was sinking. We had to reach there as fast as possible after we received the distress call.”

All crew members have been examined by the Coast Guard’s medical team and were found to be unharmed. The dhow is being monitored by the Samrat and a safety message has been issued by the MRCC (Mumbai) to mariners to avoid navigational hazard. The rescued crew is being brought to Mumbai, the press release stated.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 3:55:14 AM |

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