200 missing at sea as barge hit by Cyclone Tauktae goes down off Mumbai coast

The Naval warship INS Kochi and offshore support vessel Energy Star have collectively rescued 60 persons from the barge till 11 pm on Monday

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 17

More than 200 people are feared missing at sea as a barge – used for engineering and cargo purposes --  is fast sinking near the ‘Bombay High’ oil-rig in the Arabian Sea late on Monday night. The barge was ravaged during the cyclone.

The Naval warship INS Kochi and offshore support vessel Energy Star have collectively rescued 60 persons from the barge till 11 pm on Monday. In all, there were 273 persons onboard the barge. Due to the cyclone, the sea state is ‘extremely challenging’ search and rescue (SAR) operations will continue through the night for the remaining members of the crew on the barge.

These ongoing rescue efforts will be augmented by Indian Naval aircraft and helicopters, weather permitting, at first light on May 18.

Bombay High is 70 kms west of Mumbai.

The barge at Bombay High was deployed by a consortium led by Afcons Infrastructure Ltd, a part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, to undertake a contract for the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC). The barge was being used as an accommodation base mid-sea for the workers on the project.

This afternoon the Navy has got another SOS call. A Barge 'GAL Constructor' with 137 people onboard is adrift some 15 kms west of Mumbai.  The sea is very rough even as rescue is being attempted.

The vessel has been approached by an Emergency Towing Vessel 'Water Lily' which has arrived in its vicinity for rendering assistance.  The barge continues to drift in extreme sea conditions.

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