Mangaluru, June 4, 2017 : 27 members aboard a sinking barge in the Arabian Sea off the Ullal coast were rescued by the Coast Guard on Sunday.
Official sources said that the four people were rescued on Saturday night and the rest were rescued on Sunday morning. It was earlier reported that 33 people were on the sinking barge.
Instead of the earlier plan of using a helicopter to airlift the people, a lifeboat was used as it was thought to be a better and safer option. The rescue operation had been halted last night due to stormy weather but was resumed at 7 am, sources said.
The Coast Guard Karnataka sent out its ship Amartya at 5 pm on Satuday after receving a distress call from the workers on Dredger Ibis. It was located at 4 km south of Old Port Mengaluru when it crashed into a boulder. “Amartya lowered its inflatable rubber boat to the barge but could rescue only four workers due to bad weather,” an unidentified Coast Guard official told IANS on Saturday.
The Coast Guard complained that the barge owner had sent out the vessel to the sea despite monsoon warning, The Hindu reported. The Dredger Ibis is a 2964 GRT vessel which is 65.58 metre long and 32 metre broad.
The Karnataka Coast Guard had first received a phone call around 4.45 pm from the New Mangalore Port Trust regarding flooding in the barge. The operations team sent Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Amartya, which was on patrol, to help the distressed barge as soon as possible.
The ICGS Amartya arrived at the position at 6.40 pm and after assessing weather conditions, the Gemini (an inflatable rubber boat) with diving officer and boarding team was lowered at 6.48 pm. Despite the bad weather, they towed the life raft of the barge with four personnel onboard towards the ICG ship.
The operation was called off at night because of strong winds and heavy swell in the area. At first light, the rescue operation resumed and the remaining people were rescued.
The Coast Guard Hovercraft, ACV H-196 was also deployed and ICGS Rajdoot was kept on standby.
Minister U T Khader on Sunday morning visited Coast Guard DIG SS Dasila and commander Jaswal and requested the officials to step up the rescue operation.