Rescue operation from Barge P305 challenging, crew on naval ships well trained: Deputy Chief of Naval Staff

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Vice Admiral Murlidhar Sadashiv Pawar speaking to ANI
Vice Admiral Murlidhar Sadashiv Pawar speaking to ANI

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], May 18 (ANI): The rescue operation involving Barge P305, which sank under impact of cyclone Tauktae, is among the most challenging but the crew on navy ships is well trained and capable of dealing with adverse situations, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Murlidhar Sadashiv Pawar said on Tuesday.

"This is one of the most challenging search and rescue operations I have seen in the last four decades. Four INS (Indian Naval Ship) are on site. The main operation pertains to searching and rescuing 261 people from Afcons Barge P305 which sank about 60 km away from Mumbai yesterday," Vice Admiral Pawar told ANI.

"Warships can take damage from a couple of missiles and still retain their combat capability but the sea does not spare anyone. Sea is a good friend but equally a bitter enemy. Our ships and crew are well trained and they are up to facing any challenges," he added.

Asked how the rescue operation was being conducted in COVID-19 situation, he said the main aim is to rescue people.

"COVID or no COVID our main aim is to rescue people from the sea. We have been fortunate that all our crews have received two shots of vaccine. If one is alive , COVID-19 can be faced again. This is our motto at the stage."

At least 146 personnel have been rescued from Barge P305 which sunk after Cyclone Tauktae hit the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai on Monday, the Defence Public Relations Officer (PRO) said on Tuesday.

He said that the aerial search commenced at first light with Indian Navy P8I on task.

Several of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) major production installations and drilling rigs are located in the area that felt the brunt of the cyclone.

ONGC had earlier said that INS Kochi and INS Kolkata - two ships of the Indian Navy and one Tug Boat of Afcons, one OSV (offshore supply vessel) of ONGC, Coast Guard vessel 'ICG Samarth' have been pressed into service for the rescue service of Barge 'Papaa-305' that started drifting after its anchors gave way.

Three more ONGC OSVs and two MSVs (multipurpose support vessel) have been mobilized for the purpose.

India Meteorological Department said on Tuesday that the cyclone is continuing to show a weakening trend. (ANI)