India’s loss making Oil and Gas Corporation has failed to secure its assets despite advance warnings of the Cyclone Tauktae. Three construction barges of Afcons Infrastructure Limited deployed on a project of ONGC in Western Offshore fields in the Arabian Sea and one drilling rig of ONGC deployed for exploration purpose have been involved in accidents.
The first Barge, Papaa–305’s anchors gave away and the vessel began drifting. The Indian Navy ships INS Kochi and INS Kolkata along with one Tug Boat of Afcons, one OSV (Offshore Supply vessel) of ONGC, Coast Guard vessel ICGS Samarth were deployed for rescue operations. They were joined by three more ONGC OSVs and two MSVs (Multipurpose Support Vessel) later. As per the the Indian Navy update on 7 Am on 18 May, 132 personnel have been rescued. Offshore Support Vessel Energy Star & Great Ship Ahalya have joined the effort.
“A total of 60 persons from Barge P305 have been rescued till 2300h on 17 May, 42 by INS Kochi and 18 by offshore support vessel Energy Star in extremely challenging sea conditions. Search and Rescue (SAR) operations will continue through the night for the remaining crew,” said the Indian Navy’s previous release.
The anchor of Barge Support Station-3 gave away and it started drifting North-West. It is clear of all operational Installations of Mumbai High. The vessel is under control and there is no water ingress. Two ONGC OSVs have been dispatched for rescue.
Another Barge, Gal Constructor with 137 personnel is drifting at Colaba Point with water ingress in engine room. Coast Guard vessel ICG Samrat and Mumbai Port Trust Emergency Towing Vessel Water Lily are at the location for rescue and support. The barge continues to drift N’ly in view of extreme sea conditions as per the Indian Navy report on 17th evening 11.26 PM update.
ONGC Drill Ship Sagar Bhushan also lost its anchors. It was deployed for exploration in western offshore. The ship started drifting north. Four ONGC charter hired vessels are at the location for rescue operations. Two ONGC MSVs are also on their way. ICGS Shoor of the Coast Guard has been diverted for rescue operations.
“ONGC is taking all possible measures in coordination with ODAG (Offshore Defence Advisory Group) and MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to ensure the safety of personnel and vessels,” says the company release.
ONGC’s major production installations and drilling rigs located in the Arabian sea lie directly in the path of Cyclone Tauktae. As per the company, the wind speed rose to nearly150-180 Km/hr with 6 to 8 meters high waves when these accindents happened.
“These ongoing rescue efforts will be augmented by Indian Naval aircraft and helicopters, weather permitting, at first light on 18 May and the SAR efforts will be continued through the day,” said the Indian Navy release.