Barge tragedy: NCP seeks culpable homicide case against ONGC

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Mumbai, May 20 (PTI) The NCP on Thursday demanded registration of a culpable homicide case against the ONGC in connection with the barge tragedy caused off the Mumbai coast when cyclone Tauktae brushed past the city.

As many as 37 personnel onboard an accommodation barge, 'P305', died, while 38 are still missing after the vessel, contracted to state-run oil and gas producer ONGC, sank in the Arabian Sea on Monday after getting caught in the powerful storm.

The barge had gone adrift in the cyclone fury before sinking.

Maharashtras Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik, in a statement, accused the ONGC of neglecting the warnings issued in connection with the cyclone and risking the lives of around 700 workers.

Hence, a case of culpable homicide should be filed against the ONGC which is responsible for the death of the 37 personnel and punishment be given to those who are guilty, Malik, also the NCPs national spokesperson, demanded.

The oil ministry on Wednesday constituted a high-level committee to enquire into the sequence of events leading to the stranding of three vessels of a contractor of the ONGC in cyclone Tauktae.

Forming a probe committee will not suffice and officials responsible for the tragic episode should be suspended immediately, the Maharashtra minister said.

Three barges and an oil rig with 695 personnel on board went adrift on Monday.

These included barge P305 with 261 persons, cargo barge GAL Constructor with 137 personnel on board, accommodation barge SS-3 with 196 personnel on board and the Sagar Bhushan oil rig with 101 personnel on board.

All the 137 personnel on barge GAL Constructor were rescued on Tuesday by the Navy and Coast Guard.

The 196 personnel on barge SS-3 and 101 personnel on board oil rig Sagar Bhushan are safe, officials have said.

Navy ships were deployed on Monday after the Navy was informed that the accommodation barge P305 had gone adrift off the Heera oil fields in the Bombay High area. The oil fields are around 70 km southwest of Mumbai. PTI ENM RSY RSY

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