Cyclone Tauktae National

26 bodies recovered from Barge P-403 off Mumbai, 49 still missing

People rescued from the Arabian sea by the Indian navy walk out from Indian naval ship INS Kochi in Mumbai, on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

Twenty six bodies have been recovered and 49 are still missing from Barge P-305, which sank 35 nautical miles (NM) off Mumbai due to cyclone Tauktae.

“As of now, 186 crew members of accommodation barge P305 and two from tug ‘Varapradha’ have been rescued by naval ships and aircraft”, a Navy spokesperson said on Wednesday.

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INS Kochi, which entered the Mumbai harbour in the day to disembark 125 survivors and mortal remains of four crew members, was immediately sailed out in the evening again to continue the search effort, the spokesperson said. INS Kolkata is scheduled to enter the Mumbai harbour on Wednesday night to disembark the survivors rescued from barge P-305 and ‘Varapradha’ as well as the mortal remains of 18 crew members, he added.

The names of those rescued have been conveyed to the Oil and Natural gas Corporation (ONGC) and Afcons. Naval ships INS Teg, Betwa, Beas, P-8I aircraft and Seaking helicopters are continuing with the search and rescue operations.

Three construction barges of Afcons, working on a project of the ONGC, and one drilling rig of the ONGC deployed for exploration purpose in Bombay High off the coast of Mumbai were impacted by cyclone Tauktae, which hit the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai in the early hours of May 17.

Commodore Manoj Jha, who is overseeing the effort for the last two days off the Mumbai coast, said, “Operations can be challenging but our work is to ensure that we prepare for contingency. We’ve been able to save another 300 lives at sea. Two other vessels were in distress, they were about to abandon ship and we assured them support.”

‘A joint operation’

The rescue operations were continuing and naval ships and aircraft were at work. “Not only the Navy, Coast Guard and ONGC ships are working. It is a joint operation. Others are also helping us,” Cmde Jha pointed out.

Referring to the relief efforts underway 15-20 NM South East of the Pipavav Port off the coast of Gujarat, the Navy spokesperson asserted that Support Station 3 and drill ship Sagar Bhushan were now being safely towed back to Mumbai by ONGC support vessels.

“Food and water to the 300-odd crew members of these vessels was also provided by the naval helicopters from Mumbai earlier in the day,” he stated.

On completion of operations off the Gujarat coast, the Navy has diverted INS Talwar to join the other three naval ships searching for the missing crew of Barge P-305, off Mumbai.

According to the Coast Guard, Sagar Bhushan, with 101 personnel onboard, reported the loss of all eight anchors 63 NM North West of Mumbai and was adrift while barge SS-3, with 202 personnel onboard, was adrift 58 NM West of Mumbai.

The Coast Guard has diverted several ships to join the Navy and the ONGC in the rescue efforts.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 9:12:02 AM |

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