CG rushes to rescue as crew abandons container.
Mumbai: The Indian Coast Guards launched a rescue operation near Lakshadweep island after a container ship reported an explosion late on Tuesday. The container ship with Singapore flag had 23 crew members on board, including 13 Indians. The CG rushed its vessel for rescue and even pressed a Dornier into service. Four crew members, including an Indian, are missing while the others have been rescued.
Coast Guard officials said that the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Mumbai received a distress message at 9.45 pm on Tuesday from a Singaporean container ship, Maersk Honam, stating there was an explosion onboard. The 330 meters long ship had left Singapore on March 1 with 27 crew members. Besides Indians, the motley crew consisted of Romanians, British, Thai and Filipinos.
“The vessel reported an explosion and fire onboard and requested immediate assistance while being located 570 km (340 nautical miles) from Agatti in Lakshwadeep Islands,” said Avinandan Mitra, PRO Coast Guards. The MRCC alerted all the merchant ships nearby through the satellite based communication network, International Safety Net (ISN).
The Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Shoor, equipped with specialised fire-fighting equipment, which was patrolling near Lakshadweep islands, has also been diverted for assisting the distressed vessel. IG KR Nautiyal, Coast Guard Commander (West) said, “Search Operations are on and Coast Guard assets have been pressed into action to salvage the vessel with assistance of specialised vessels, which is being arranged in co-ordination with the ship agency,” he said.
Nearby merchant vessels have also rushed to the spot. The crew has abandoned the ship as the fire is beyond control. The search operation is in progress by merchant vessels Als Cicero, Seaspan Zambezi, Navigator Centauri and Al Jasrah supervised by the
Indian Coast Guard Regional HQ (West) and MRCC.