High-level panel to enquire into barges stranding in Arabian Sea

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New Delhi, May 19 (PTI) 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 ONGC in cyclone 'Tauktae'.

Three barges of Afcons, a contractor working on ONGC fields off the west coast with more than 600 people on board, were stranded in offshore areas during the severe cyclone.

'The stranding, drifting and subsequent events have led to loss of several lives,' a ministry statement said without giving details.

A committee comprising Amitabh Kumar, Director General of Shipping; SCL Das, Director General of Hydrocarbons, and Nazli Jafri Shayin, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence has been constituted to enquire into the incidents.

The panel may co-opt any other member, and take assistance of any person it deems necessary.

'The committee shall submit its report within one month,' it said.

It has been asked to 'inquire into the sequence of events leading to the stranding and drifting of these vessels, and subsequent events.‎' 'Whether the warnings issued by Meteorological Department and other statutory authorities were adequately considered and acted upon' will also be looked into by the panel, the statement said.

The panel will also enquire if 'the Standard Operating Procedures for securing the vessels and dealing with disaster management were adequately followed,' it said adding ‎lapses and gaps in the systems leading to the stranding and drifting of the vessels will also looked into. PTI ANZ ANU ANU

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