Navy confirms death of 37 personnel aboard barge P305, bodies found
Bombay: The Indian Navy confirmed Thursday the death of 37 personnel aboard the barge P305 with the recovery of their bodies. Barge P305 drifted and sank in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai during Cyclone Tauktae and the search for at least 36 missing people is still ongoing. A total of 188 of the 261 on board have already been rescued by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.
The barge sank 35 nautical miles off Mumbai as Cyclone Tauktae hit the west coast of India. The P305 was one of four barges that suffered during the cyclone. The other three were Gal Constructor and Support Station-3 – deployed by engineering firm Afcons for its Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) contract.
“In one of the most difficult SAR operations after #CycloneTauktae, 325 survivors were rescued and 37 #BNVs recovered off the coasts of Mumbai and Gujarat. ships, planes and helicopters deployed, ”the Indian Navy spokesman tweeted on Thursday.
The Navy is leading a massive, 24-hour rescue effort that includes several of its ships, P-81 reconnaissance planes and Sea King helicopters, as well as Coast Guard and CGSB vessels, to detect survivors of the sunken barge and other ships. stranded or affected by the storm.
Indian Navy Commodore Ajay Jha said the Navy launched a new air search and rescue mission Thursday morning, deploying Indian Navy helicopters and ships overnight, to trace any movement in the dark waters to the search for survivors. He said search operations would continue for at least three days.
The Directorate General of Navigation had already ordered an investigation into the deaths. Now Mumbai Police have also announced an investigation into the P305 barge remaining in the area despite storm warnings. An ADR (accidental death report) was recorded on Wednesday in connection with the deaths.
On Thursday morning, the Coast Guard said another missing tugboat – Sangeeta, with a crew of 10 – had been located about 10 nautical miles west of Tarapur, Maharashtra. The Coast Guard found the vessel and provided food, water and medical support to the crew while it was towed.
Another navy vessel, INS Talwar, was the “on-site coordinator” off the coast of Gujarat and assisted Support Station 3 (SS-3) and the Sagar Bhushan drill vessel, which were towed to safety. to Mumbai by CGSB support ships, an official said.
The Ministry of Oil and Natural Gas has announced a high-level investigation into the “gaps and loopholes” in the system. It will probe the sequence of events that drove the CGSB support ships left stranded by the cyclone, see whether warnings from the Indian Meteorological Department and other statutory authorities were followed or not, and whether SOPs for securing vessel and disaster management were monitored.
According to the barge’s chief engineer, Rahman Shaikh, everyone on board could have been saved if many life rafts had not been punctured and the captain had taken the cyclone warnings seriously.
Shaikh was admitted to Apollo Hospital in Tardeo with knee injuries. He said they received the cyclone warning a week before it hit.
Many other ships in the area left and he had told the captain, Balwinder Singh, that they also had to leave for the port. However, the captain said the winds are not expected to exceed 40 km / h and the cyclone will pass through Mumbai in an hour or two.
The Maharashtra Congress demanded the resignation of Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on moral grounds following the deaths of 37 staff on board the barge that sank in the Arabian Sea, and called it a “man-made tragedy”.