Updated: December 6, 2021 7:36:30 am
Over 72 hours after the MV Shri Krishna 8 barge disappeared at sea amid inclement weather on December 2, four of its crew members remain untraced. Neither the barge, nor its debris, has been sighted at sea even as Coast guard search operations that continued through Sunday are expected to continue on Monday.
“Our surface and aerial search operations have been going on throughout the day. We usually close search operations after 72 hours but we have decided to go beyond in this case,” said Arunabh Bose, Deputy Inspector General, Indian Coast Guard.
On December 2, the barge carrying iron ore set sail for Goa from the Jaigarh Port in Maharashtra was met with heavy rain and strong sea currents at about 2 am. According to Coast Guard officials, after encountering rough weather at night, the barge is suspected to have capsized. According to accounts of survivors, who were rescued after swimming for over 30 hours in the Arabian Sea, amid pounding rain, massive waves had hit the vessel and crew members had reached for life jackets before the waves flung them into the sea.
Of the ten crew members, the Coast Guard had found one dead and rescued two while three others were rescued by three separate fishing boats. Over 24 hours after the survivors were rescued, four other crew members remain missing.
While officials of Shri Krishna Stevedores Pvt Ltd in Mumbai did not share any information, an executive of the shipping agent in Goa who did not want to be named said that they had engaged two professional divers and four private search vessels were at sea to aid the rescue operation. He said that the divers had made one attempt at an underwater search on Sunday with no luck. They will make another attempt on Monday morning, he said.
According to sources, the depth at the barge’s last known location, south of the Vengurla rocks, was about 23 meters.
Meanwhile, family members of two of the four missing crew members arrived in Goa and are waiting for answers.
Shahnawaz Alam, a relative of missing crew member Mosharrof Alam, met survivors Nitesh Vishwakarma and Mohammed Ansari at Goa Medical College and Hospital on Saturday. On Sunday, he said, he made another trip to the hospital and the Coast Guard office but learnt nothing new. “Our family member is missing. We need answers but more importantly, we need him back,” said Alam.
“Our patience is running out and hope is dwindling,” said Abu Mohsin Mulla, a friend of Ali Mahammad SK, another missing crew member. Mulla arrived in Goa on Saturday from Kolkata. “He is the sole breadwinner of his family. His parents are old. His mother has stopped eating and his wife hasn’t uttered a word since he went missing. We need to know something other than the search is on. All we are getting is sympathy from the company. We need our family member back,” said Mulla.
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