Three out of the four vessels operating in ONGC’s western offshore fields in the Arabian Sea, which were drifting in the sea after cyclone Tauktae hit the Mumbai coast, have been taken in control and their crew are safe, the state-run oil producer said on Tuesday evening.
One of the vessels, the barge called Papaa–305 with 261 crew onboard, had sunk about 60 kilometres away from Mumbai. As on 7pm on Tuesday, 184 people from capsized Papaa-305 had been rescued and the Indian Navy was actively engaged in rescuing the remaining crew.
Out of the four vessels that went adrift, three construction barges including Papaa-305 belonged to Afcons Infrastructure of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group. Afcons’ barge Support Station-3 had 196 crew onboard while barge Gal Constructor carried 137 people.
ONGC drill ship Sagar Bhushan, which had lost its anchors and was drifting north, was being tagged back to the Mumbai port, sources said. The ship had lost all eight anchor and while on propulsion, its steering was not working. The ship was built in 1987 by Hindustan Shipyard.
The cyclone hit Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai in the early hours of Monday where ONGC’s major production installations and drilling rigs are located. The wind speed rose to nearly 150-180 km/hr with wave heights reaching as much as eight meters. The Indian Navy had deployed INS Kochi and INS Kolkata in the search and rescue operations. Other vessels of ONGC, Afcons and the Coast Guard were also put in action.