Man stuck on barge for 26 hrs off Maharashtra’s Vasai coast rescued
The Coast Guard (CG) has rescued a 30-year-old man stranded onboard a barge that was sighted off Vasai coast.
On Friday morning, CG reached the spot in a Chetak chopper and rescued the man. They checked his documents and reached Bhuigaon coast, where Vasai Gaon police took him for questioning.
The man has been identified as Rafique Shaikh and the barge, Hiradevi, belongs to Akhtar Kalokhe of Uttan. It had hit rocky surfaces after the anchor broke around 3 nautical miles (roughly 5.4 kms) off Arnalapada lighthouse near Bhuigaon coast in Vasai on Thursday. Shaikh, who was stuck onboard for 26 hours, was asleep on the barge when it drifted. The pilot had left the barge for dinner.
The Mira Bhayander Vasai Virar (MBVV) Commissionerate will question the duo as they did not inform the police about the incident, even though Shaikh was in touch with Kalokhe on mobile phone.
“The incident had led to a security scare as CG, MBVV and the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) were put on alert. We will take necessary action in this regard,” said Sanjaykumar Patil, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), zone 2, MBVV.
The labourer had also unfurled a black flag onboard and the barge had no markings such as the Indian national flag and other identification marks which put the agencies on alert.
MBVV police had sought the help of CG, which had also conducted an aerial survey on Thursday evening, but owing to bad weather, the rescue operation was concluded and continued on Friday.
The six cylinders on the 2019-registered barge, weighing 8 tonnes, belonged to Rajendra Gulab Patil of Kalwa, Thane, who had sold it to Kalokhe two months ago for ₹26 lakh but the transfer papers were still pending, said Patil. The barge was to be used to ferry stones, sand and building materials as well as construction workers.