This photograph provided by Indian navy shows one of the men rescued by the navy from the Arabian sea being brought for medical attention at naval air station INS Shikra in Mumbai. (AP)
MUMBAI: Barge P305 that had adrift in the Arabian sea on Monday noon sunk late night. There were 273 crew members on the barge and so far 178 of them have been rescued by the Indian Navy and remaining were on life jackets. The rescue operations were on.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard has rescued all 137 crew members from another barge Gal Constructor which had drifted in the sea too. At other locations, search and rescue operations (SAR) for 297 people on an oil rig and an accommodation platform began too.
On Tuesday evening, commandant R K Singh, PRO Coast Guard stated, “In an effective coordinated rescue operation all 137 crew of distressed vessel Gal Constructor successfully rescued and are safely ashore. Rescue mission accomplished.” Crew of Gal Constructor was rescued from sea off Satpati coast amidst very rough and inclement weather conditions. Three Chetak helicopters were pressed into service.
The Navy on Monday dispatched three warships—INS Kochi, INS Kolkata and later INS Talwar—to rescue as many as 410 people on board two barges after the boats got stranded in the rough weather in the Arabian Sea on Monday afternoon as cyclone Tauktae came within 120km off the city’s coast. Several other ships were readied for ‘HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) tasking’ in the wake of ‘Tauktae’ that has wreaked havoc along the west coast of India. P305, when stranded, was around 36 nautical miles (NM) or approximately 70 km from Mumbai.
Commander Mehul Karnik, Navy spokesperson, on Tuesday in a message said that the SAR operations continued throughout the night and a total of 146 persons from P305 have been rescued , 111 by INS Kochi and INS Kolkata, 17 by Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) Greatship Ahilya and 18 by OSV Ocean Energy whilst operating in extremely challenging sea conditions. Later, the number of rescued persons from P305 went up to 178. Several personnel, rescued by Sea king helicopter from P305, were taken for medical attention at INS Shikra.
The barge ‘Gal Constructor’ with 137 persons onboard has run aground about 48 NM North of Colaba Point. An Emergency Towing Vessel ‘Water Lily’, two support vessels and CGS Samrat were in vicinity for rendering assistance and evacuation of crew.
Another Chetak Helicopter operating from Coast Guard Air Enclave Goa winched up and rescued two distressed and stranded employees of Light House Authority from Vengrula Light House, 38 Nautical miles North of Vasco. The Light House had total power failure and was badly damaged due to high speed wind and rough weather conditions at sea.
“INS Talwar is proceeding to render assistance to another oil rig Sagar Bhushan with 101 personnel onboard and an accommodation barge SS-3 with 196 personnel onboard, both of which are adrift and presently located about 50 NM South East of Pipavav Port,” said the Navy spokesperson.
These ongoing rescue efforts have been augmented today morning by an Indian Naval P8I surveillance aircraft. Helicopters of Indian Navy will also be deployed for SAR based on weather conditions. The SAR efforts will continue through the day with more naval assets ready to augment the ongoing SAR.
First batch of three rescued were brought in by Indian Navy Helicopters. INS Kochi and INS Kolkata along with MV Offshore Energy and MV Ahalya continue with SAR in extremely challenging circumstances.
297 people on oil Rig Sagar Bhushan and accommodation barge SS-3 are safe. INS Talwar has reached there, they will be towed.