The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has set up a high level committee to enquire into the sequence of events leading to the stranding of ONGC vessels in Cyclone Tauktae. Several vessels of ONGC with more than 600 people on board, were stranded in offshore areas during severe cyclonic storm. The stranding, drifting and subsequent events have led to loss of several lives.
The three-member committee has been tasked to submit its report within one month.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police will also conduct a separate probe as to why the ill-fated barge P-305 which sank off Mumbai coast on Monday evening stayed in the area despite warnings about cyclone Tauktae.
Yellow Gate Police in south Mumbai on Wednesday registered an accidental death report (ADR) in connection with 22 persons on the barge whose bodies have been recovered.
The barge ‘Papaa-305’ or P-305 had 261 persons on board. Of these, 186 persons were rescued while 53 are still missing. Twenty-two were confirmed as dead.
This barge as well as two other barges that were hit by the cyclone were deployed by Afcons for a contract it had got from state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
The bodies of the workmen were brought to Mumbai by INS Kochi in the morning and 18 more were brought by INS Kolkata, a police official said.
Police are trying to ascertain why this accommodation barge – it had living quarters for employees working offshore – did not move away despite repeated warnings about the cyclone, he said, adding that statements of those rescued are being recorded.
“We will also seek the opinion of Director General, Shipping and other related agencies,” he said.