Massive Rescue Operations After Cyclone Tauktae Sinks Barge Leaves Oil Rig Adrift
Navy vessels, tug boats and rescue ships were pressed into service on Monday to evacuate over 500 people stuck on an oil rig and barges in the high sea off the Mumbai coast after Cyclone Tauktae ripped through it. The cyclone sank a barge that had living quarters for employees working offshore, while two other construction barges lost anchors and drifted away.
The three barges, which were deployed by Afcons for a contract the company had got from ONGC, had 599 workers on board when the cyclone hit, official sources said.
Besides the barges, one drilling rig of ONGC, 'Sagar Bhushan', with 101 people on board (37 ONGC employees and 64 contractual workers), too drifted away from its location.
Indian Navy ships - INS Kochi and INS Kolkata, Coast Guard vessel ICG Samarth, tug boat of Afcons and offshore supply vessels of ONGC have been pressed into service to rescue those stranded on the barges and the rig.
Out of 261 people on Barge 'Papaa-305' - the worst hit by the cyclone and high sea swell - 182 have so far been rescued, they said. Attempts are being made to trace and rescue the remaining, they said.