KOCHI: “I had no hope that I will survive,” said safety officer Tiju Sebastian, 31, a survivor of the barge P-305 that sank off the Mumbai coast on May 17. Recounting the day the barge -- with 261 people on board -- was left adrift by cyclone Tauktae near the Heera oilfield in the Arabian Sea, Tiju said it is by god’s grace that he is reunited with his family.
Back home at Tripunithura, he is now regaining health. Twenty-two of the 186 persons rescued by INS Kochi were Keralites. So far, 60 workers have been reported dead, including eight Keralites. The rescued Malayalis have reached their homes safely. The survivors then created a Facebook group to discuss health-related issues arising out of the incident.
“The attempt was to remain updated about each other. We have realised that not a single person from the government side has visited the families of those who died in the accident,” Tiju said. It is a sad situation, said Agnel V Varkey, a 25-year-old survivor from Kozhikode.“The government should help them by all possible means,” he said.
Most of those rescued have lost their certificates and identity cards. The survivors want the government to help them get another set of documents at the earliest. “Barge P-305 was my first project,” said Adhil Sha, the 20-year-old survivor from Wayanad.
“As I was a fresher, I had to submit all my original certificates at the time of joining. I never thought I would have to face a tragedy on my first project.” said Adhil.Adhil stayed afloat in the sea for more than 10 hours before he was rescued by INS Kochi.