Cyclone Tauktae leaves 74 seafarers missing off Gujarat: SAR operations ongoing

Cyclone Tauktae cast four oil and gas vessels adrift off the coast of Mumbai, sent a tug aground off Karnataka and left multiple vessels in distress off Maharashtra and Gujarat (see yesterday’s IMN for vessel details).

The Indian Coast Guard was engaged in a series of emergency response efforts after Cyclone Tauktae hit, and some 6,000 fishing boats were directed back to port before the storm hit.

As well as work barges Papaa-305 and Gal Constructor (reported yesterday), Support Station-3, – also operated by Afcons Infrastructure on a contract for India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was cast adrift by winds of up to 110 miles per hour and waves of up to 26 feet. All three barges were manned with hundreds of personnel when the cyclone arrived. Papaa-305 sank with 273 people on board and as of Tuesday night at least 74 were still missing, according to local reports. SAR efforts were continuing. By Wednesday, 14 bodies had been recovered.

“This is one of the most challenging search and rescue operations I’ve seen in the last four decades,” according to Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral MS Pawar.

All 137 personnel from the Gal Constructor were rescued. An additional 202 people were rescued from Support Station-3.

Jack-up rig Valliant Driller reportedly lost a portion of her superstructure over the side in high winds, and the jack-up Sagar Kiran reportedly went dark after losing its emergency generator.

Meanwhile, the salvage of tug Alliance (IMO 9632973), which capsized off the coast of Mangaluru on May 15th and drifted aground near Padubidri beach in Udupi district, began on May 18th. The operation is being monitored by the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL).

The tug will first be secured with iron ropes so that it may not shift from the current position. Then it will be either lifted or an attempt undertaken to turn it into an upright position. Of the eight crew members, two died, while three swam ashore. The remaining three, he chief officer Ashfaq Ali Khalpe, seaman driver S K Mainuddin Haqa and diver Pawan Chand Katoch, were still missing.

2012-built, India-flagged, 165 gt Alliance is owned and managed by Alliance Offshore of Gujarat, India.