Mumbai, May 18, 2021: One of the vessels with 273 personnel on board, which was stranded near Bombay High during the impact of Cyclone Tauktae, has sunk. The Indian Navy has managed to rescue 177 people till Tuesday morning while search is on for the others.
Rescue and search operations were intensified on Tuesday, a day after the severe cyclonic storm made landfall in Gujarat and wreaked havoc in Mumbai.
State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) had on Monday said barge P305 with 273 personnel deployed for offshore drilling got de-anchored and began drifting because of the cyclonic storm Tauktae.
A barge is a long flat-bottomed boat while an accommodation barge is of shallow draft (vessel whose keel is not far below the waterline) and is used to accommodate personnel on projects where shore accommodation is not available.
“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 Indian Navy said.
The SAR efforts will continue through the day with more naval assets ready to augment the ongoing SAR. In an update, the Indian Navy said Barge 305 caught in the cyclone at Bombay High sunk and 177 out of the 273 onboard have been rescued so far.
Another barge ’Gal Constructor’ with 137 people on board run aground about 48 NM North of Colaba Point. An Emergency Towing Vessel ’Water Lily’, two support vessels and CGS Samrat are in the vicinity to assist in the evacuation of crew.
INS Talwar was also sent to assist another oil rig Sagar Bhushan with 101 personnel on board and an accommodation barge SS-3 with 196 personnel on board, both of which are adrift and presently located about 50 NM South East of Pipavav Port.
Repair and rescue teams have been formed to undertake urgent infrastructural repairs after the cyclone.
Various ships along the Western seaboard are on standby with aid and relief material for immediate assistance to affected areas as required and to provide assistance to fishing boats and small boats stranded due to the rough weather.
Navy’s Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft on surveillance are continuously broadcasting cyclone warnings to fishermen.