PORT BLAIR: After a nearly 10-hour ordeal at high sea amid extremely poor weather conditions and a subsequent 17-hour sea journey aboard a Coast Guard ship, all 11 crew of ITT Panther reached Port Blair on Friday morning.
Coast Guard Ship ICGS Rajkamal, which rescued them, handed the crew over to the ill-fated cargo ship’s local agents and family members. Visibly overwhelmed with the rescue operation and the hospitality onboard the ship, the crew expressed their gratitude to the Coast Guard for saving their lives.
“Within one hour of drifting and sending distress signal we could see Coast Guard aircraft over us. The aircraft kept hovering over us till we were finally picked up by the Coast Guard ship,” said Amitabha Chatterjee, captain of the cargo vessel ITT Panther that sank in mid sea.
“Our ship sank around 6.30 am. After our Masterji gave us orders to abandon ship, we jumped out. We are really thankful to the Coast Guard for this life saving act. It’s only because of them that we are today standing in front of you all,” said Nageshwar Singh Dara, who hails from Jammu.
The rescued crew members were received by Chief of Staff, DIG, Pankaj Verma at Port Blair’s Coast Guard Jetty. Talking to the media the crew confirmed that shifting of weight due to bad weather was responsible for the ship sinking.