The government was using aircraft and vessels to search for 10 Indian crew members, who went missing after their cargo ship sank in the Pacific off the Philippines last week, the external affairs ministry has said. They also said that five Indian crew members of ‘Emerald Star’ are in Irene, the Philippines, and the country’s mission is bringing them to Manila before repatriation to India.
On Friday, the 33,205-tonne cargo ship Emerald Star with 26 Indian nationals on board sank off Okinawa. While 16 Indians were rescued, a search for the missing crew members was launched by Indian missions in the Philippines, Japan and China to locate them.
“Officials from our Guangzhou Consulate visited the injured Indian crew of ‘Emerald Star’ in a Xiamen hospital. 11 crew members are in Xiamen. Search for missing 10 crew members still ongoing using aircraft and vessels. We will keep posting regular updates on further developments,” ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted yesterday. Separately, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in a series of tweets, said there were 26 Indians on board the ship, of them 16 have been rescued and 10 are still missing.
“Indian Embassy in Japan has informed me that a helicopter and 2 patrol vessels of Japan Coast Guard are engaged in search/rescue operations,” she has said. The minister said the Indian Navy’s P8I aircraft has reached Manila and joined the search and rescue operation for the missing Indians. P8I is a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.