CHENNAI/PORT BLAIR: An Indian cargo ship sank due to rough seas in the northeast part of the Bay of Bengal on Thursday. Its 11-member crew was rescued after they managed to stay afloat on a life raft for nearly 10 hours in mid-sea.
The Coast Guard rescued the crew around 4 pm in an air-sea coordinated operation about 400 km from Port Blair.
The vessel ITT Panther, which left Kolkata on July 15, is believed to have sank due to rough weather and the heavy load it was carrying. “We received a distress call around 6.30 am, after which three Dornier aircraft were sent to locate the vessel. But only some floating containers and a life waft, with 11 crew members could be located,” Commandant Dalip Singh, Public Relations Officer, Coast Guard Region (A&N) told Express.
Coast Guard vessels, Rajkamal and Bhikaju Cama, were also dispatched from Port Blair and Diglipur. But the rough seas delayed the rescue operation and the crew could be rescued only after 4 pm. “All the crew members were rescued by late afternoon and they were provided medical attention,” a Coast Guard spokesman said.
Commandant Singh said all crew members were from India. The owner, based in Kolkata, received the first distress call from the ship.
The 63-m-long vessel, ITT Panther was carrying 29 containers, including 500 tonnes of sand, 200 tonnes of steel and a car.
The ship was coming from Kolkata and was to reach Port Blair on Thursday evening. The 63-m-long and 10-m-wide ITT Panther was built in 1985.
It is believed that the vessel sank due to dangerous tilt and shifting of cargo in rough monsoon weather conditions on Thursday morning. The rescued crew members are expected to be brought to Port Blair on Friday.