NEW DELHI: About 60 persons have been rescued and search is on for 200 others on board an accommodation barge, Papaa 305, deployed by state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation that went adrift off the Mumbai coast Monday evening. The barge was one of the three vessels and a drillship that went adrift after their moorings snapped in the ferocity of cyclone Tuktae, which pushed up wind speed to reach 150-180 km.
INS Kochi and INS Kolkata of the Indian Navy, a tug boat of Afcons and one vessel of ONGC have rushed to the area for search and rescue, ONGC said in a statement.
But the extremely rough sea, with 6-8 metre-high waves, is making the task difficult, people aware of the situation said.
Besides Papaa 305, barge GAL Constructor is reported to be drifting at Colaba Point and reported to be taking in water in the engine room. Indian Coast Guard vessel ICG Samrat and Mumbai Port Trust vessel Water Lily are at the location for rescue and support.
Another barge, Support Station-3, is drifting north-west from its mooring. It is reported to be clear of all operational installations of Mumbai High. The vessel is under control and there is no water ingress. ONGC has deployed two of its offshore support vessels for help.
ONGC drill Ship Sagar Bhushan, which was deployed for exploration in western offshore, lost its anchors and started drifting north. Four ONGC charter hired vessels are at the location for rescue operations. Two ONGC multi-support vessels are also on their way, the company said. Coast Guard has diverted its vessel ICGS Shoor for rescue operations.
The barges were deployed for exploration and drilling operations in western offshore. Reports suggest P305 did not have its own power mill since it was an accommodation platform. GAL Constructor is a drilling barge. Together the two barges are reported to have more than 400 personnel on board.
Reports suggest Papaa 305 was the first to have sent out SOS. GAL Constructor was next.
The Navy has kept another vessel, INS Talwar, on standby.