P 305 tragedy survey: allow coastguards to move ships to port, expert group recommends

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A committee set up to investigate the incidents that led to the sinking of a barge and the death of 89 people off the ONGC offshore platform at Bombay High in the Arabian Sea during Cyclone Tauktae in May 2021 recommended empowering the coast guard to move ships. in port in such situations, according to sources from the Union’s Ministry of the Navy.

The committee, headed by the director general of the merchant navy, has already submitted two interim reports to the merchant navy ministry and reviewed the compensations announced by the CGSB and other stakeholders, the Indian Express has learned.

Among its other recommendations, sources say, the Directorate-General for Navigation should add an additional monsoon relief vessel to its only existing rescue vessel on the west coast.

The P 305 accommodation barge sank in the ONGC offshore platform area when its anchors, attached to a platform, broke in high winds and waves during the cyclone. The captain of the barge had decided to stay on board despite the weather warnings given by the weather service. Another Varaprada tug also sank with 11 people on board. The report also allegedly blamed both AFCONS, under whom the barges operated, and ONGC, which had subcontracted the labor contract on the right to AFCONS, for failing to order the vessels to leave the area and return to Mumbai. port in the days leading up to the cyclone.

At the moment, the Coast Guard can only issue weather advisories and warn private vessels to move away from bad weather and move to safe areas. During Cyclone Tauktae, the coast guard gave two warnings to ONGC but they were not heeded, the sources said.

“The CGSB thought they had delegated the responsibility to the AFCONS, but in reality, they cannot do it because there is work going on in their area,” a source said. ONGC has already suspended three of its directors for discrepancies in this incident.

The state government gave a sum of Rs 4 lakh to the parents of each of the deceased and ONGC announced Rs 2 lakh. AFCONS had issued a statement that it would give Rs 35-40 lakh to the parents of the deceased. According to the sources of the Ministry of Transport, the amount announced by ONGC is being revised.

P305 had 261 people on board, of which 189 were rescued. Varaprada, which was engaged in the rescue of another vessel called Gal Constructor, sank with 11 crew on board. Two managed to swim and stay afloat until they were rescued by an Indian Navy rescue vessel.

The incident investigation team also recommended improving the vessel tracking management system. They believe the CGSB must have specialized staff to understand IMD and Coast Guard warnings, sources said.


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