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Cyclone ‘Tauktae’: FIR Registered Against Captain of Barge P-305

An FIR has been registered against the Captain for putting lives of workers in danger during Cyclone ‘Tauktae’.

Updated
India
3 min read
The Indian Navy (IN) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) continued their search for 38 missing personnel from a barge with 261 people.
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An FIR has been registered against the captain of Barge P-305 for putting the lives of workers in danger during Cyclone ‘Tauktae,’ Mumbai Police said on Friday, 21 May, according to NDTV.

The police further said that the FIR has been registered under 304(2), 338, 34 IPC at Yellowgate Police Station on the complaint of Sheikh Rahman, the Chief Engineer of P-305, NDTV reported.

Captain Ignored Warnings: Chief Engineer

Speaking to The Indian Express on Wednesday evening, Chief Engineer Rahman Shaikh, who survived the deluge, said that everyone on board could have been saved if 14 of the 16 accessible life rafts were not punctured and the Captain had taken cyclone warnings seriously.

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“We received the cyclone warning a week before it hit. Many other vessels in the vicinity left. I told the Captain, Balwinder Singh, that we must also leave for the harbour. But he told me that winds were not expected to be over 40 kmph and the cyclone would cross Mumbai in one or two hours. But in reality the wind speed was more than 100 kmph. Five of our anchors broke,” Shaikh told the news publication whilst recovering at Tardeo’s Apollo hospital.

Captain Singh is among those still missing at sea.

188 Survivors So Far

A barge with 261 people went adrift late on Monday and sank near the Bombay High Fields, unable to withstand the fury of Cyclone ‘Tauktae’.

So far, there are 188 survivors, including 186 crew members of Accommodation barge P-305 and two from tug ‘Varapradha’ that have been rescued by Indian Navy ships and aircraft.

The mortal remains of 51 people from the crew of Barge P-305 have been recovered so far, the Defence PRO said on Friday, reported ANI. All survivors and the mortal remains of 49 people have been brought to Mumbai.

The Indian Navy is still coordinating search and rescue ops with ships and aircraft for the remaining crews, the Defence PRO added.

The Centre late on Wednesday ordered an all-encompassing high-level probe into the lapses that led to the incident.

What Has Afcons Said?

Of all its assets in the Arabian Sea, five vessels were stranded, including one of oil drillship Sagar Bhushan with 101 people on board, but all were rescued safely.

Construction giant Afcons Infrastructure Ltd (AIL) revealed that it had a total of 1,290 people on 6 of its barges there, including 50 of its own (AIL) staffers, according to IANS.

The AIL said that the weather forecasts received on 14 May predicted that sustained windspeeds of maximum 40 knots (classified as a ‘Tropical Storm’) is likely to occur at its specific work locations late May 16-early May 17.

As a preventive measure, on 14 May, the AIL advised all its vessels to secure their respective work locations and move to safer locations on priority, and accordingly, its vessels and barges including Papaa-305 started moving out of their work areas on 14/15 May, and some reached Mumbai Port, its outer anchorage or near Revdanda (Raigad).

"However, the Master of Papaa-305 chose to move 200 metre away from the HT platform where it was working, and to remain at that location, deciding this as a safe location since the max predicted wind speed was only 40 knots and his location was 120 nautical miles away from the eye of the tropical storm," the statement said.

(With inputs from NDTV, IANS and The Indian Express.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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