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Cyclone Tauktae: 3 Navy ships on rescue op to save 410 on two barges

The Indian Navy has deployed three warships in high sea for search and rescue (SAR) assistance of two ships — barge P305 and barge GAL Constructor — with 410 people on board, after they were stranded in Bombay High due to Cyclone Tauktae on Monday afternoon
By Manish K Pathak, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAY 18, 2021 12:24 AM IST

The Indian Navy has deployed three warships in high sea for search and rescue (SAR) assistance of two ships — barge P305 and barge GAL Constructor — with 410 people on board, after they were stranded in Bombay High due to Cyclone Tauktae on Monday afternoon. INS Kochi, INS Kolkata and INS Talwar have been pressed into carrying out the rescue operations.

The Indian Navy rescued 38 people of the 273 on-board barge P305, adrift off Heera Oil Fields in Bombay High. The search and rescue operation has been carried out by INS Kochi and INS Kolkata in extreme weather conditions and very rough seas.

INS Kolkata, which was headed for barge GAL Constructor, had been diverted to attend to the situation of barge P305.

Meanwhile, rescue operations for barge GAL Constructor, stuck around 8 nautical miles from Mumbai coast with 137 people on board, could not be started due to extreme weather condition, said a Navy officer.

Several other ships have been prepared for disaster recovery task in the wake of Cyclone Tauktae which has wreaked havoc along the west coast of India, said Commander Mehul Karnik, chief public relations officer (CPRO), Western Naval Command, Indian Navy.

The Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) are on high alert as severe cyclonic storm Tauktae passed the Mumbai coast towards Gujarat on Monday. The Navy has kept its flood rescue teams at INS Shikra in Colaba, INS Trata in Worli, Material Organisation in Ghatkopar, INS Tanaji in Mankhurd, and INS Hamla in Malad ready for deployment. The Navy can also operate its Chetak and Sea King helicopters from INS Shikra depending on the weather, said Karnik. He added the Navy was prepared and was on standby as no request had yet been received from the civil administration for immediate help.

Timely weather alerts ensured that as many as 4,526 boats from Maharashtra and 2,258 from Gujarat which were out in the sea for fishing have safely returned to the harbours.

ICG has also geared up for preventive and response measures along the western coast. ICG ship Samarth, responding to a distress call, rescued 15 crew from a fishing boat named Milad off Goa coast in a swift operation. All crew members are safe, said an ICG official.

Apart from that, 40 coast guard disaster relief teams with inflatable boats, lifebuoys and life jackets are on standby along the western coast.

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