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67 bodies of crew members working at ONGC’ site recovered from Arabian Sea

Only 186 personnel out of a total of 261 personnel on Papaa–305 could be rescued. Also, only two of 13 personnel on Varaprada vessel could be saved. (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)Premium
Only 186 personnel out of a total of 261 personnel on Papaa–305 could be rescued. Also, only two of 13 personnel on Varaprada vessel could be saved. (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)

  • Nineteen workers are still missing, with the Indian Navy along with the Coast Guard and ONGC continuing search.
  • Five vessels carrying 714 personnel were caught in the cyclone, of which 628 people were rescued.

NEW DELHI : New Delhi: A total of 67 bodies have been recovered of the crew members who were onboard Papaa–305 construction barge and tug vessel Varaprada, when they were hit by cyclone Tauktae’ fury in the Arabian sea, while working at a project site of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC), said a person aware of the development.

The total number of missing people at sea is 19, with the Indian Navy along with the Coast Guard and ONGC continuing search and rescue operations.

According to petroleum and natural gas ministry, five vessels carrying 714 personnel were caught in the cyclone, of which 628 people were rescued. These vessels were Sagar Bhushan drill ship, construction barges—Support Station-3, Gal Constructor and P-305—with Varaprada handling the anchor of Gal Constructor.

While 42 bodies have been identified and handed over to their families, 25 bodies are yet to be identified. The P-305 barge sank on Monday, 35 miles off Mumbai. Cyclone Tauktae had hit the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai in the early hours of 17 May, where ONGC’s major production installations and drilling rigs are located.

“ONGC is extending logistical help to families of affected crew members of Barge P-305. The company is providing all necessary logistical help and support for the dependent family members to travel to Mumbai and back. ONGC is also making arrangements for families to take back the mortal remains of the deceased persons to their hometowns," the state-run firm said in a statement.

While all 202 personnel on Support Station-3 vessel, 101 personnel on Sagar Bhushan drill ship, 137 personnel on Gal Constructor were brought on shore safely; only 186 personnel out of a total of 261 personnel on Papaa–305 could be rescued. Also, only two of 13 personnel on Varaprada vessel could be saved.

A total number of 7,675 people on 342 installations comprising of 99 floating and 342 fixed ones were impacted by the cyclone that tore across western India. Of these 99 floating vessels and rigs 94 remained safe at sea and shore. The cyclone caused extensive loss of life and property is western India.

After these vessels got stranded at sea, the petroleum and natural gas ministry ministry set up a high-level enquiry committee to ascertain the causes and lapses that led to the loss of lives.

While Afcons is working on the compensation for the affected crew, ONGC has announced an immediate relief of 1 lakh to the survivors and 2 lakh for the victims and missing persons’ families.

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