Updated: May 19, 2021 7:21:38 am
The Coast Guard, which regularly provides assistance to vessels in distress, had clearly warned the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) and also the Flag Officer, Offshore Defence Advisory Group (FODAG), that all ships should come back to the harbour in the wake of Cyclone Tauktae.
Inspector General Anand Badola, the Commandant General of Coast Guard (West), said they had asked ONGC and FODAG to remove all vessels from the sea. “Why the ONGC did not follow the intimation is a question it has to answer,’’ he added.
Badola said they ensured that 4,221 fishing boats had entered the harbour before the cyclone made its way to the Mumbai coast.
The Coast Guard had sent out notes to all agencies on May 11 and 13. Sources in the agency said director general K Natrajan had also informed the Union ministries of defence and home about the warnings given.
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When contacted, ONGC spokesperson Harish Awal said Afcons had placed their vessels in the sea. B Pandey, Deputy General Manager (Mechanical) of ONGC, also blamed Afcons, which is a support agency of ONGC and provides it accommodation barges. Three of Afcon’s barges were in distress and one among them, P 305, sunk. As many as 81 people are still missing.
When contacted, Afcons spokesperson B Kumar said they were concentrating on the rescue of those who are still missing.
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