THE MASTER of the barge, which suffered a gas leak Friday leading to the death of three crewmembers, passed away Sunday night. Mohammad Daud Ibrahim Kurey (50) had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Bombay Hospital, where he succumbed to serious inhalation lung injuries, confirmed Bombay Hospital spokesperson Dr Sagar Sakle. Kurey and his colleague Ganesh Bitta (40) were rescued from the Orion II vessel early Saturday after half of the vessel crew were knocked unconscious by the level of poisonous gases in the sludge tank, which collects and disposed wet waste from the vessel, rising dangerously. Bitta was discharged after being treated for minor injuries, said the hospital.
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While the Malabar Hill police has registered a case of accidental death, it has written to the Mercantile Marine Department (MMB) to carry out a detailed inspection of the vessel. “We require experts to examine the vessel and find out what went wrong with it. After they file a report of their investigation, we will take action,” said Dyaneshwar Chavan, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone II.
The incident took place Friday when the Orion II was secured alongside another vessel MV Thor Endeavour some 5.4 nautical miles off Malabar Hill and was unloading a cargo of wheat. According to the police, after the levels in the sludge tank rose, a crewmember descended three decks below to inspect it.
Without any safety equipment, the crewmember soon became unconscious and was followed by four others, the police said. After crew onboard the MV Thor Endeavour raised an alarm, the Coast Guard sent a rescue vessel. Three of the crew members — Mangesh Bhosale (27), Jayanta Chaudhary (23) and Kritik Son Koch (27) — were killed on the spot while Bitta and Kurey were rushed to Bombay Hospital.