State finance minister Sunil Tatkare had his second harrowing experience at sea in a month.
Tatkare and 49 other passengers had to be rescued from a ferry near Mandva at Alibaug after a fish net got entangled in the boat’s engine and caught fire on Tuesday morning.
The minister was travelling to Mandva, which is his constituency, when the incident occurred.
The ferry had left the Gateway of India at 8 am.
An hour later, 10 nautical miles from Mumbai’s coast, the crew notices a fire near the engine.
Deputy commissioner of police (port zone) Qaizer Khalid said a fish net got entangled in the engine and caught fire.
Tatkare was in the air-conditioned cabin of the ferry.
The coastal police said they received a distress call from the ferry at 9am.
“The boat was equipped with a fire extinguisher. The crew doused the fire but the engine was damaged by then. We received a distress call and immediately dispatched the nearby ferry to the spot,” said Khalid.
Tatkare said: “The crew members managed to extinguish the fire. One of them suffered burns in doing so.”
He said even after the fire was doused, the boat’s engine would not start leaving passengers stranded for more than 20 minutes.
“We got all passengers on the deck and waited for help,” Tatkare added.
The crew on another ferry that was going to Alibaug managed to rescue all the 50 passengers and took them to Mandva safely.
Khalid said the police they alerted a ferry approaching Mandva because the coastal police’s speedboats would have taken time to reach the spot.
This the second time this month that Tatkare has been stranded at sea.
On September 7, the state finance minister was stuck in a speedboat for two hours when it developed a technical snag midway through the ride from Navi Mumbai to the Gateway of India in south Mumbai.