PORT BLAIR: As the day was dawning on Thursday, ITT Panther, a cargo ship, sent its last communication. It was a distress call to the Coast Guards. The vessel, with a displacement tonnage of 1042 tonnes, was in deep trouble.
Thanks to the strong winds, some of the ship's load shifted to one side, creating an imbalance. Soon, the unstable ship plunged to the bottom of the sea, leaving 11 crew members gasping in the Bay of Bengal.
The incident happened about 120 nautical miles off North Andaman Island's Diglipur.
Thanks to the containers which were floating around, the crew members had something to hold on to while waiting rescuers.
They were later rescued by the Indian Coast Guard.
“The coast Guard received a distress call at around 6.30 am. Soon three Dornier aircraft were sent to locate the vessel one after the other. But the aircraft could locate only some floating containers and a life waft, with 11 crew members,” Commandant Dalip Singh, Public Relations Officer, Coast Guard Region (A&N) told New Indian Express.
A Coast Guard vessel ICGS Rajkamal was immediately disptached to the spot. It reached the spot at around 5 PM and rescued the crew members.
The Coast Guard said the incident was caused by shifting of cargo load due to bad weather.
Commandant Dalip Singh said all crew members were from India. They will be brought to Port Blair tomorrow morning.
The 63-metre-long vessel, ITT Panther had 29 containers on board when it made a plunge to the bottom of the sea. The containers were carrying 500 metric tones of sand, 200 metric tonnes of steel and a car.
The ship was headed to Andaman's Port Blair.