INDIA. Mumbai: The wracks of the ill-fated barge Paapa 305 which sank off Mumbai coast during cyclone Tauktae on Monday, May 17, were located near the Heera oil exploration well of the ONGC by the Indian Naval Ship “Makar” on Saturday evening.
The wracks were located 30 meters deep into the sea, an Indian Navy spokesman Commander Mehul Karnik said. The wracks of the barge Paapa 305 were located at the sea bed after a systematic search by INS Makar employing advanced side-scan sonar. The search efforts for remaining crews of the barge and the tug boat Varaprada have continued, he added.
There were 261 personnel aboard the barge Paapa 305. The Indian Navy has been able to rescue 188 people and has retrieved 66 bodies of the deceased till now. The search for the remaining crew is still on. The oil well Heera belongs to the Oil and National Gas Commission(ONGC) while the barge was hired by the Afcon Infrastructure Limited from the Durmast Enterprises Limited, to carry out the ONGC’s work.
In the meanwhile, a complaint of culpable homicide has already been lodged by the engineer of the barge against Master of the barge Captain Rakesh Vallabh, who is still missing.
In another development, the ship INS Trikand arrived in Mumbai with two liquid medical oxygen containers( 20 MT each) and 100 oxygen cylinders from Qatar as part of the Indian Navy’s operation Samudra Setu II on Sunday.