Coast Guard rescues 31 personnel off sinking barge

"A Coast Guard ship rescued four of the 27 workers on Barge Ibis, while 23 of them were still stranded when rescue operation was called off due to inclement weather", Mangaluru Deputy Commissioner of Police K.M. Shantaraju told IANS. Four workers were rescued on Saturday, however, the operations had to be suspended because of bad weather. The Barge Ibis, a 2964 GRT vessel with a length of 65.58 metre and breadth of 32 metres, with 27 crew, was engaged in operations to prevent sea erosion, south of Old Port Mangalore.

The Coast Guard ship CGS Amartya which was pressed into rescue operations immediately after the first signal of distress could only rescue four of the crew. In the first three days of its arrival, during the weekend, there have been three separate life threatening incidents at sea, which were swiftly tackled by Indian Coast Guard.

The dredger, which was operating south of Old Mangalore Port, had reported distress on Saturday after hitting the reef in the Arabian Sea. "Port secretary Laxminarayana alerted Coast Guard authorities in Karwar and Goa to keep their ship and helicopter ready", he said. At the scene of the troubled barge was dispatched the Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Amartya, which was on patrol in vicinity.

Heavy winds and darkness made it hard to rescue all the persons, reports said.

The Coast Guard Hovercraft, ACV H-196 was also deployed and ICGS Rajdoot was on standby.

Meanwhile, ICGS Amartya lowered its dinghy, "Gemini" at 6.10 am and commenced rescuing of the remaining 23 persons from dredger Ibis.

"Due to inclement weather, the rescue operation had to be put on hold temporarily".

  • Zachary Reyes