2 tugs face distress along Karnataka coast

Our Bureau Mangaluru | Updated on May 16, 2021

Rescue operation faces delay due to unfavourable weather conditions.

The bad weather in the Arabian Sea following Cyclone Tauktae led to two separate mishaps of tugs along the Karnataka coast on Saturday night.

In the first incident, the Tug Alliance, which belongs to Underwater Services Company Ltd, had faced distress on Saturday.

A spokesperson for Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) said that Underwater Services Company Ltd assists MRPL under a contract to facilitate SPM (Single Point Mooring) operations in the sea whenever crude cargo comes there through ships. The Tug Alliance had performed a similar duty to unload cargo from one such vessel on Friday, and it was supposed to return by the end of that day.

The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Dakshina Kannada, KV Rajendra, said the Tug Alliance had faced distress following the bad weather in the sea and lost telecommunication contact with the shore on Saturday.

The wrecks of the tug have been recovered near Padubidri in Udupi district. Of the eight members in the tug, three have reached the shore and admitted to the hospitals in the Udupi district. Till now, two bodies have been recovered from the sea. Three more crew members are missing. 

Meanwhile, one more tug named Coromandel, which was on the outer anchorage of New Mangalore Port also drifted on Saturday night following the rough weather in the sea. 

Rajendra said the tug is now stuck among rocks around four nautical miles away from the Mulki shore in Dakshina Kannada district. The DC said that all the nine crew members of this tug are in the tug with their life jackets on. This is because they have grocery and water required for them.  

The Coast Guard ship, which is in the vicinity of 1 km, keeps a watch on the tug. He said the rescue operation of these crew members is facing problems now due to the unfavourable weather conditions in the sea. However, plans are also there to rescue them by using helicopters from the Indian Navy once the weather condition improves.

MRPL spokesperson said that Tug Coromandel doesn’t belong to MRPL. “It doesn’t have any contract with us,” the spokesperson said.

Published on May 16, 2021

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