Those responsible for barge tragedy must face action: NCP

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Mumbai, May 19 (PTI) The NCP on Wednesday demanded action against those who did not act swiftly to evacuate personnel from a barge that went adrift in cyclone Tauktae fury before sinking in the Arabian sea off Mumbai's coast, leading to the death of at least 26 men.

Maharashtra Minister and NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik said the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry, too, must be held answerable for the tragic episode.

At least 26 personnel on board accommodation barge P305, that sank in the Arabian Sea, are dead, while 49 others are still missing, an official said.

The accommodation barge P305, which was servicing ONGC offshore operations, sank on Monday evening, the official said, adding 186 of the 261 personnel on board have been rescued so far.

In a series of tweets, Minority Affairs Minister Malik said everyone was made aware of the cyclone and warnings were issued for all to take necessary precautions.

Local government agencies had made arrangements for the people on coastal areas to move to safer places and fishermen were asked not to venture into the sea, Malik said on the micro-blogging site, tagging Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Then why did the #ONGC not pay heed to all the warnings and follow safety protocols? They should have evacuated all their workers from the barges and brought them to shore before the onset of the Cyclone, Malik said.

The Maharashtra minister said due to the ONGCs failure, lives of innocent workers were put in danger.

He said, 60 people are still missing and many have lost their lives due to this negligence. The Indian Navy and Coast Guard are trying their best in this rescue operation.' Malik sought action in the matter.

Action must be taken against those who are in-charge and did not take the decision of evacuation at the right time.

They must be held responsible and punished. Central Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas must also be answerable, Malik tweeted.

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, the official said. PTI ENM RSY RSY

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