People in coastal towns of Porbandar and Jamsalaya (Jamnagar district) have kept their fingers crossed as they wait to hear from the crew of country craft Shivam that went missing 12 days ago.
The dust clouds that hovered over the region recently have reportedly proved ill-fated for this Porbandar registered vessel,which is suspected to have sunk off the Pakistan coast.
The vessel has 22 crew members on board; 18 from Jamsalaya and four from Porbandar, said Adam Bhayya,president of Jamsalaya Vahanvata (countrycaft) Association. All the families here are praying for the safe return of the sailors.
Its been more than 11 days since the last contact with this Oman-bound vessel,which set sail from a Mumbai port on March 14,was established. The last call on March 20 was made in distress as the vessel at that time had reportedly caught in rough weather. Loaded with 2,000 tonnes sugar,the boat was some 80 nautical miles off the Pashni port in Pakistan when the call was made.
The incident happened on the day when thick dust clouds were hovering over countries like India,Pakistan and Afghanistan,reducing visibility to a considerably low level.
The vessel is registered with Pooja Shipping owned by Jitu Gohel,a Porbandar resident. The owner maintained that besides the Indian Coast Guard,the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency has also launched a search of the crew and the vessel.
Bhayya said the possibility of the vessel remaining intact is not much but people are hopeful that the crew might have sailed to some safe place. Coast Guard officials have informed us that a message has been sent to all the ships passing through the route to look for the crew and the vessel,and extend help if needed, he said.