Rescue mission on after four ONGC vessels drifted away from Mumbai during Cyclone Tauktae: Everything to know

By: |
May 19, 2021 4:41 PM

Amid the heavy rains and the inclement weather that was caused by the cyclone, four vessels drifted away from the Mumbai coast on Monday.

When the distress call was received regarding these vessels, the weather conditions were not suitable for deployment of helicopters.

Cyclone Tauktae: Cyclone Tauktae wreaked havoc in parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat on Monday when it travelled past the coast of Mumbai and made its landfall in Gujarat. However, even as Mumbai did not have to deal with the actual cyclone, the impact of the passing cyclone was major. Amid the heavy rains and the inclement weather that was caused by the cyclone, four vessels drifted away from the Mumbai coast on Monday, causing the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard to launch a rescue mission, according to a report in IE.

Early morning on Monday, the cyclone had hit the Arabian Sea close to Mumbai coast. At the coast, the drilling rigs as well as the production installations of ONGC are located. But the harsh winds, speeding at about 150 km/hour to 180 km/hour, along with the waves that were rising to the heights of between six to eight metres caused four ONGC vessels to drift away in the high seas, the report added.

Among the four vessels, three were construction barges of M/s Afcons, the report said. M/s Afcons is working on an ONGC project in the Arabian Sea. What is more worrisome, however, is that some of the barges were the living quarters for people working on the offshore rigs. Meanwhile, the fourth vessel which drifted away is a drilling rig that had been deployed by the PSU for exploration-related work.

Two of the vessels – barges Papaa-305 and Support Station-3 – saw their anchors giving away, as a result of which both of them started drifting amid the harsh wind and water conditions. Meanwhile, the drillship Sagar Bhushan lost its anchors and drifted northward. At the same time, barge Gal Constructor’s engine room has water coming in, and the vessel, as per the report, is currently at Colaba Point.

According to T Ashish, the DIG of operations with the Coast Guard has said that while an exact count is not known, about 800 people have been estimated to be aboard these four vessels.

When the distress call was received regarding these vessels, the weather conditions were not suitable for deployment of helicopters. However, as per current status of reports, it is believed that INS Kochi and INS Kolkata of the Indian Navy have been deployed to undertake the rescue mission along with three vessels of the coast guard and 14 ONGC-owned and chartered vessels.

At present, the report has said that the mission has successfully rescued 182 personnel from on-board the barge Papaa-305, but the barge itself has sunk. Apart from that, the mission has also been able to rescue 339 people from the remaining two barges.

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