A barge with 273 people aboard that got stuck due to cyclone Tauktae on Monday sank on Tuesday, with 96 people missing. The reaming 177 people have been rescued so far by the Indian Navy.
The search operation for the missing people was intensified on Tuesday—a day after the ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ wreaked havoc in Maharashtra and Gujarat, leaving behind a trail of destruction.
Government-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on Monday alerted authorities about bargee P305 with 273 personnel that de-anchored and started drifting because of the cyclone. The vessel and the personnel aboard it were deployed for offshore drilling.
What Navy said
The Indian Navy said the ongoing rescue efforts have been augmented on Tuesday morning by an Indian Naval P8I surveillance aircraft. Helicopters of the Indian Navy have been deployed for search and rescue (SAR) based on weather conditions. The SAR efforts will continue through the day with more naval assets ready to augment the ongoing SAR.
Another barge ‘Gal Constructor’ with 137 people on board ran aground about 48 NM North of Colaba Point. An Emergency Towing Vessel ‘Water Lily’, two support vessels and CGS Samrat are in the vicinity to assist in the evacuation of the crew.
INS Talwar was also sent to assist another oil rig Sagar Bhushan with 101 personnel on board and an accommodation barge SS-3 with 196 personnel on board, both of which are adrift and presently located about 50 NM South East of Pipavav Port. Repair and rescue teams have been formed to undertake urgent infrastructural repairs after the cyclone.
Cyclone Tauktae to gradually weaken
According to the India Meteorological Department, Tauktae has weakened into a cyclonic storm and is likely to gradually weaken into a deep depression in the next six hours. It is currently lying around 105 km south-southwest of Ahmedabad and 35 km southwest of Surendranagar and carrying a wind intensity of around 75-85 km per hour.
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