Home / News / India /  Watch: Coast Guard rescues 22 crew members from sinking merchant ship in Gujarat

AHMEDABAD : The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Wednesday rescued 22 crew members from a sinking merchant vessel off the Porbandar coast in Gujarat in a sea-air coordinated operation, officials said.

The swift action of the ICG amid adverse weather saved the lives of 22 crew members, including a Pakistani and a Sri Lankan, who are safe and are being brought to Porbandar.

A Dornier aircraft, two indigenously-built twin-engine Advanced Light Helicopters, and two ships were involved in the search and rescue operation, a senior ICG official said. He said the crew members were picked up by the choppers and ships from the sea. 

Around 8.20 am, the ICG received a distress alert about uncontrolled flooding onboard merchant vessel Global King-1, which was reportedly 185 km off the Porbandar coast, the ICG release stated.

Despite the adverse weather conditions at the time, a Dornier aircraft was launched from the ICG Air Station Porbandar to assess the situation and relay information to the vessels in the vicinity, it said. The Dornier, on reaching the area, dropped a life raft for the crew, it said.

ICG Ship Shoor, CG Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), which was already at sea, was also directed to immediately reach the area. The ICG ship braving very rough seas proceeded to the area with maximum speed, the release said. The indigenously-built twin engine Advanced Light Helicopters from ICG Air Station Porbandar were also launched in Search & Rescue (SAR) configuration for any eventuality.

The crew, after failing to stop the flooding, abandoned the vessel. The helicopters operated close to their operational maxima and braved squally weather and strong winds to reach the area, it further said. Thereafter, in a sea-air coordinated effort, all 22 personnel (20 Indian, one Pakistani and one Sri Lankan) were successfully rescued. The merchant vessel was transporting 6,000-tonne bitumen from Khor Fakkan (UAE) to Karwar (Karnataka), it was stated. ICG Inspector General, (North West), Anil Kumar Harbola, said the crew members were picked up by the choppers and ships.

"In the morning we got the information from our Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Mumbai, which is handled by the Coast Guard, that a ship-Global King-1-which was on the passage from Khor Fakkan (UAE) to Karwar (India) got flooded in between. It was around 185 km away from Porbandar at that time," he told reporters on Wednesday night. Commenting on the rescue operation, he said the weather was very rough due to the monsoon but pilots took air sorties.

A Dornier aircraft, two advanced light helicopters (AHL) and two ships were launched. "When our helicopters reached the area (where the vessel was sinking in the sea), the scared crew members had already abandoned the ship. All of them were picked up by the choppers and ships diverted by us," he added. He said the rescued crew members are being brought back.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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