Cyclone Sinks Indian Barge, 96 Still Missing
The Indian Navy launched a search operation for 96 missing people onboard barge P305 operated by state-run explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC). The barge first went adrift and subsequently sank at an offshore oilfield near Mumbai Tuesday morning after cyclone Tauktae, categorized as “extremely severe,” barreled through the country’s western coast, according to Bloomberg.
“Long-range maritime surveillance aircraft were assisting the rescue effort but bad weather was hampering operations,” Indian Navy Spokesman Vivek Madhwal said. He said a total of 273 people were onboard the P305 barge, and 177 were rescued in a night-long operation, with 96 still missing.
Search & Rescue Ops Barge P305 continued through the night by #INSKochi & #INSKolkata. Offshore Support Vessel Energy Star & Great Ship Ahalya have joined the effort.
132 personnel rescued so far in extremely challenging circumstances.@DefenceMinIndia https://t.co/9fbs7g8STl
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) May 18, 2021
Indian Navy rescues 177 personnel so far from Barge P305. Navy conducting Search and Rescue Operations.
📷: Visual from INS Kolkata yesterday evening pic.twitter.com/cWEJBOEJA0
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) May 18, 2021
The offshore oilfield is about 95 nautical miles off the west coast of Mumbai in the Gulf of Cambay. The barge went adrift after Tauktae crossed the region with winds gusting above 115 mph. The storm made landfall Monday at 830 pm local time on the Gujarat coast, a state on the western coast of India.
Indian warships were deployed Tuesday to rescue hundreds of people from two other ONGC barges, which went adrift in the storm, Madhwal said.
Effect of cyclone #Tauktecyclone barge #P305 sunk 250 + crew, barge Ss3 #grounded #MVsamarpan missing #sagarbhusan drill ship 8 anchors broken & drifted with 101 crew #GSADiti pray 4 on-board crew of these carriers for their safe rescue as many are still missing.🙏🙏 @FsuiManoj pic.twitter.com/kP4r7gCsJv
— FSUI (@FSUIINDIA) May 18, 2021
ONGC vessels, Indian Navy ships, and vessels of the Indian Coast Guard joined forces on Tuesday to search for survivors.
Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director-general of the national weather forecaster, said the cyclone was one of the hardest to hit the Gujarat coast since 1998.
Meanwhile, residents of Mumbai and Gujarat experienced a powerful cyclone, the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane, with flooded streets, wind-damaged properties, fallen trees, and widespread power outages.
Tue, 05/18/2021 – 10:56
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