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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Barge P305, Varaprada rescue ops: 188 crew members rescued, 66 bodies recovered

Barge P305 was a vessel doing work for ONGC off the coast of Mumbai. It had broken free of its anchor shortly after midnight on May 16 due to high-speed winds and a choppy sea.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 22, 2021 8:47:58 pm
The specialised diving team of the Indian Navy gets ready to set sail for the rescue operations off the coast of Mumbai on Saturday. (Photo: Twitter/DefPROMumbai)

As many as 186 personnel from Barge P305 and two from Tug Varaprada have been rescued so far as the Indian Navy, on Saturday, deployed specialised diving teams in a bid to trace crew members missing for six days since Cyclone Tauktae rendered the vessels adrift. So far 66 bodies have been recovered by the Navy, while search and rescue operations continue for the remaining crew.

A total of nine personnel remain missing from Barge P305 while 11 are missing from Tug Varaprada.

At least 11 bodies were recovered by the Navy on Friday. Of the 261 personnel who were on Barge P305, 186 were rescued.

Underwater search for wrecks of Barge P305 and Tug Varaprada using specialized teams and equipment is also in progress, as per the latest update.

The Indian Navy had deployed specialised diving teams to ramp up efforts to trace the missing personnel from the vessels that had gone adrift in the cyclone fury before sinking on Monday.

“To augment the ongoing SAR ops for the missing crew of Barge P305 and Tug Varaprada, specialised diving teams onboard INS Makar with side-scan sonar and INS Tarasa sailed out early morning today from Mumbai,” a Navy spokesperson tweeted.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police has registered a case of negligence against the captain of the barge following a complaint by an engineer. Mumbai Police Spokesperson DCP S Chaitanya said, “The captain of the barge acted negligently on the warnings issued related to Cyclone Tauktae and that allegedly led to the mishap, due to which we have registered an offence. We have so far mentioned the barge’s captain and others in the FIR, and on the basis of the findings of the investigation, we will book more officials.”

Barge P305 was a vessel doing work for the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) off the coast of Mumbai. It had broken free of its anchor shortly after midnight on May 16 due to high-speed winds and a choppy sea.

Two ships of the Indian Navy, INS Kochi and INS Kolkata, three coast guard vessels, and 14 other vessels owned by ONGC and chartered vessels are currently carrying out the rescue mission.

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