The Indian navy rescued 146 out of 273 people on-board a barge as it was sinking during cyclone Tauktae while the remaining 127 people were on life jacket support and efforts were being made to rescue them.
The barge went adrift off Heera Oil Fields in the Bombay High area on Monday when the cyclone hit the area. After getting an alert from the barge, the navy launched the rescue operation, which is still going on.
A helicopter was sent from INS Shikra, Mumbai, to support the rescue efforts. The search and rescue operation has been carried out by warships INS Kochi and INS Kolkata with the help of other offshore support vessels like Greatship Ahalya and Ocean Energy in extreme weather conditions and very rough seas.
The operation continued throughout the night and 111 people were rescued by INS Kochi and INS Kolkata. As many as 17 and 18 people were rescued respectively by Greatship Ahilya and Ocean Energy till 6 am on Tuesday, said commander Mehul Karnik, chief public relation officer of the western naval command.
He added another barge, Gal Constructor, with 137 persons onboard has run aground about 48 nautical miles north off Colaba. An emergency towing vessel, Water Lily, along with two support vessels and Coast Guard ship Samrat are in the vicinity to provide assistance and for evacuation of crew members, added Karnik.
Karnik said INS Talwar is proceeding to assist oil rig Sagar Bhushan with 101 personnel onboard and a barge with 196 personnel. He said both of them are adrift and about 50 nautical miles southeast off Pipavav Port. He added the search and rescue efforts will continue through the day with more naval vessels are ready to augment them.