200 missing at sea as barge hit by Cyclone Tauktae descends off Mumbai coast: the Tribune India
Tribune press service
New Delhi, May 17
More than 200 people are feared missing at sea as a barge – used for engineering and freight purposes – quickly sank near the Bombay High oil rig in the Arabian Sea late in Monday night. The barge was ravaged during the cyclone.
The INS Kochi naval warship and the Energy Star offshore support vessel collectively rescued 60 people from the barge until 11 p.m. Monday. In all, there were 273 people on board the barge. Sea conditions are “extremely difficult” due to the cyclone. Search and rescue (SAR) operations will continue through the night for other crew members on the barge.
These ongoing rescue efforts will be bolstered by Indian Navy aircraft and helicopters, weather permitting, in the first light of May 18.
Bombay High is 70 km west of Mumbai.
The Bombay High barge was deployed by a consortium led by Afcons Infrastructure Ltd, part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, to secure a contract for the Petroleum and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC). The barge was used as a base for accommodation in the open sea for the project workers.
This afternoon, the Navy received another SOS call. A “GAL Constructor” barge with 137 people on board is adrift about 15 km west of Mumbai. The sea is very rough even though a rescue attempt is underway.
The vessel was approached by an emergency towing vessel “Water Lily” which arrived nearby for assistance. The barge continues to drift in extreme sea conditions.