Afcons barge P305 on ONGC duty sinks, 186 rescued, 22 dead, efforts on

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Frontier India News Network
Frontier India News Network
Frontier India News Network is the in-house news collection and distribution agency.

Afcons Infrastructure Limited’s barge Papaa – 305,  which was on ONGC duty has sunk due to Cyclone Tauktae. The barge P305 anchors gave away and it began drifting as per ONGC. The number of personnel onboard the barge has not been released at the time of writing this story, but it is learnt that there were 261 personnel onboard. Other ONGC assets in trouble are Barge Support Station-3, Barge Gal Constructor and ONGC Drill Ship Sagar Bhushan.


Further Updates on Afcons barge P305 sinking.

19 May 2021 Updates

Update 8.25 PM (Indian Navy): INS Kochi headed back for SAR of P305 personel. INS Kolkata arrives tomorrow to Mumbai bringing in the rescued personnel. INS Talwar is joining the SAR efforts. Rest of the details remain same.

Update 2.35 PM (Indian Navy): 188 survivors, including two ex tug Varaprada rescued & 22 bodies which the government is terming as Brave Natures Victims (BNV) recovered so far. INS Kochi returned to Mumbai with survivors/BNV. Indian Navy’s SAR effort continues for the remaining personnel.

Update 10.10 AM (Indian Navy): List of personnel rescued so far has been shared with ONGC/ Afcons. They can be contacted for details on the following numbers. AFCONS Helpdesk and Support Team:
Karandeep Singh – +919987548113, 022-71987192 , Prasun Goswami – 8802062853

ONGC Helpline: 022-2627 4019, 022-2627 4020, 022-2627 4021

On Scene Commander INS Talwar. Situation stable. ONGC tugs towing Sagar Bhushan and Support Station 3. Food and water being provided to crew onboard these vessels by Indian Navy Helicopters.

Update 9.45 AM (Indian Navy): SAR Ops – Barge P305, 84 personnel rescued so far. INS Kochi & INS Kolkata returning Mumbai harbour with rescued personnel.  INS Teg, INS Betwa, INS Beas,  P8I aircraft & Seaking Helos continuing with Search & Rescue Ops. 

All 137 personnel on GAL Constructor have been rescued yesterday by Navy and Coast Guard.

The 196 personnel on SS 3 and 101 personnel on Sagar Bhushan are safe. OSVs hired by ONGC and SCI towing them to safety.  INS Talwar also in area.

18 May 2021 Updates

Update 7.15 PM (ONGC): All drifted vessels, except ‘P-305’ are taken in control and their crew are safe.

(Indian Navy): INS Kochi is scheduled to arrive with the rescued personnel of Barge P305 sunk during Cyclone Tauktae during the morning hours on 19 May 21 at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai.

Update 6.50 PM (Indian Navy): 180 survivors have been recovered so far from the personnel of Barge P-305. INS Beas, INS Betwa and INS Teg have joined the SAR operations for Barge P-305, which sank 35 nautical miles from Mumbai (in the Mumbai Offshore Development Area). SAR has also been augmented with P8I and naval helicopters, which continue to undertake aerial search in the area.

SAR efforts are also in progress off the coast of Gujarat for three vessels namely Support Station 3, Great Ship Aditi and Drill Ship Sagar Bhushan, which are 15-20 nautical miles South East off Gujarat coast (Pipavav). INS Talwar has arrived in the area and taken over the duties of ‘On-Scene Coordinator’ for coordination of the SAR effort. The Western Naval Command, in coordination with ONGC and DG shipping, has diverted five tugs to render assistance. Great Ship Aditi and Support Station 3 have been able to drop anchor. Meanwhile, OSV’s Samudra Sevak and SV Cheel are connected to manoeuvre Sagar Bhushan, and the situation at present appears to be stable.

The sea continues to be extremely rough with sea state 4-5 and winds 25-30 knots (approx 35 – 55 kmph), posing a challenge to the ships and aircraft involved in SAR operations.

Update 5.30 PM (Indian Navy): Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral MS Pawar spoke on the ongoing SAR efforts by the Indian Navy. He included the name of INS Betwa in addition to INS Kochi, INS Kolkata and INS Talwar which are participating in the SAR. He said there were 261 personnel on Papaa – 305, which sank at about 1900 hours on 17th May at a distance of about 64 kilometers away from Mumbai. Other vessels required only assistance, especially from running aground.

Update: 4.05 PM  (Indian Coast Guard) In an effective coordinated Rescue Operations all 137 crew of distressed Vessel GAL Constructor successfully rescued and are safely ashore. Rescue mission accomplished.

Update: 3.15 PM (Indian Coast Guard) Coast Guard helicopter Chetak operating from Coast Guard Air Station Daman rescues 70 crew from stranded ship at sea off Satpati GAL Constructor, another Chetak Helicopter operating from Coast Guard Air Enclave Goa winched up and rescued two distressed and stranded employee of Light House Authority from Vengrula Light House, 38 Nautical miles North of Vasco. The light house had a total power failure and badly damaged due to high speed wind and rough weather conditions at sea.

Update: 2.00 PM (Indian Coast Guard) 2 Coast Guard Chetak helicopters operating from Coast Guard Air station Daman has rescued 55 crew so far from the stranded Ship GAL Constructor. One more Chetak helicopter pressed into service. Total 3 aircraft are now operating from Coast Guard air station Daman.

Update: 12.30 PM (Indian Coast Guard) ICGS Samrat engaged in Rescue Operation near stranded ship GAL constructor Two Coast Guard Chetak Helicopter operating from Coast Guard Air base at Daman rescued 08 crew member of Gal Constructor from sea off Satpati coast amidst very rough and inclement weather conditions. In total, 39 crew members have been rescued.

Gal Constructor seen from a ICGS Chetak Helicopter.

Update 11.15 AM (Indian Navy): 177 personnel rescued so far. First batch of three Rescuees brought in by Indian Navy Helo. INS Kochi and INS Kolkata along with MV Offshore Energy and MV Ahalya continue with SAR in extremely challenging circumstances.

Personnel rescued by Seaking helicopter from Barge P305 being taken for medical attention at INS Shikra

As per the Indian Navy update on 18th May, “The SAR operations continued throughout the night and a total of 146 persons from Barge P305 have been rescued till 0600h on 18 May, 111 by INS Kochi and INS Kolkata, 17 by Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) Great Ship Ahilya and 18 by OSV Ocean Energy whilst operating in extremely challenging sea conditions.”

Original news continues:-

At 8.55 am, the Navy update said “Barge P305 has sunk on site. Rescue efforts to pick up its personnel are ongoing.” The Navy also dispatched a Westland Sea King Mk 42B helicopter form INS Shikra for search and rescue.

Visual from INS Kolkata of picking up two survivors from the life raft of vessel Vara Prabha yesterday evening

The rescue operations began yesterday evening. The Indian Navy dispatched its ships INS Kochi and INS Kolkata in middle of the Cyclone. They were joined by one Tug Boat of Afcons, one OSV (Offshore Supply vessel) of ONGC and Coast Guard vessel ICGS Samarth. Three more ONGC OSVs and two MSVs (Multipurpose Support Vessel) joined the efforts later.

Visual from INS Kolkata of picking up two survivors from the life raft of vessel Vara Prabha yesterday evening

60 persons from Barge P305 were rescued till 2300h on 17 May in extremely challenging sea  conditions. 42 by INS Kochi and 18 by offshore support vessel Energy Star.  Search and Rescue (SAR) operations went on through the night for the remaining crew.

About PAPAA 305

As per marine database website’s, PAPAA 305 (IMO: 8784327) is a Cargo Barge ( Work/Repair Vessel built in 2004 (17 years old)) and is sailing under the flag of St Kitts Nevis. It’s carrying capacity is 8904 t DWT and her current draught is reported to be 6.4 meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 100.58 meters and her width is 31 meters. The vessel departed from MUMBAI ANCH, IN on 2020-09-27 09:21 LT (UTC +5.5). Position Received: 2021-05-17 04:16 UTCV. Vessel is Out-of-Range.

A September 2020 video of Papaa 305 barge struggling in rough sea

Rescue operations are going on for the other ONGC assets too.

“INS Talwar is proceeding to render assistance to another oil rig Sagar Bhushan with 101 personnel onboard and an accommodation barge SS-3 with 196 personnel onboard, both of which are adrift and presently located about 50 NM South East of Pipavav Port.,” said the Indian navy release. 

“The barge ‘Gal Constructor’ with 137 persons onboard has run aground about 48 NM North of Colaba Point. An Emergency Towing Vessel Water Lily, two support vessels and ICGS Samrat are in (the) vicinity for rendering assistance and evacuation of (the) crew,” added the release on 18th morning.

(Note: the top most picture is of Tugboat Coromondel Supporter XI)


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