Defence ships and offshore vessels of the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) recovered 26 bodies Wednesday from the Arabian Sea where barge P305 working for ONGC sank following Cyclone Tauktae. Search continues for at least 61 more people who remain missing.
Indian Navy Commodore Ajay Jha, who is supervising the rescue operations, said the bodies, brought ashore Wednesday morning, would be handed over to the Mumbai port police for completion of formalities.
The missing include around 50 men onboard P305, and at least 11 on another vessel, tug boat Varaprada, which is missing, Navy officials said. The search operations would continue for another three days at least, said Jha.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announced a high-level inquiry into “lapses and gaps” in the system. It will probe the sequence of events leading to the ONGC support vessels left stranded by the cyclone, see whether warnings by the India Meteorological Department and other statutory authorities were acted upon or not, and if the SOP for securing vessels and disaster management was followed.
A statement by the ministry said, “Several vessels of ONGC with more than 600 people on board were stranded in offshore areas during Cyclone Tauktae. The stranding, drifting and subsequent events have led to loss of several lives.”
The Indian Express reported on Wednesday that the Coast Guard had sent two weather…