Indian Navy rescues 14 sailors from choppy seas

“It was a tough operation as there was a 20 feet swell in the sea.”


Nithin Belle

Published: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 11:53 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:59 PM

Mumbai — Fourteen sailors, who had to abandon their sinking ship, were rescued dramatically from the choppy seas about 80 nautical miles north of here on Wednesday morning by a helicopter of the Indian Navy and two of the Indian Coast Guard.

Barely 48 hours after rescuing 20 crew members from another ship off the Mumbai coast, the Indian Navy rushed its Sea King chopper on getting an SOS call on Wednesday morning from the crew of MV Coastal Pride, a cement carrier, off the Daman coast.

“It was a tough operation as there was a 20 feet swell in the sea,” Capt D.K. Sharma, the Delhi-based spokesperson for Indian Navy, told Khaleej Times. “While the helicopter hovered over the sea, divers were sent down on winches to pull out the sailors from the rough sea. It was quite a tricky operation, but our personnel are highly skilled and carried it out safely.”

Sharma said that the Indian Navy got an SOS from the crew of the ill-fated ship at 6.30am. The Coast Guard sent two of its Chetak helicopters from Daman, but they could pick up just three men each. The Chetaks rescued six crew members and took them to Umergaon near Daman.

In the meanwhile, the ship sank and the remaining crew members jumped into the sea.

By the time the Sea King reached the place, the vessel had sunk and eight crew members, wearing orange life jackets, were floating in the rough sea. Indian Navy personnel managed to pull them out of the sea, even as gusty winds blew, and took them to Daman. “Shipping firms that ply their vessels in the sea during the monsoons have to be careful, especially when alerts are issued,” said Sharma. The Indian Navy is always on the alert and rushes to the rescue of vessels and crew members who are caught in the rough sea, he said.

“Our aims is to ensure that lives are not lost,” said Sharma. “Once we get an SOS, we decide the fastest mode to reach the site. If a naval vessel is nearby, we send it. Otherwise, we send our helicopters.”

Every monsoon, the Indian Navy rescues several ships and their personnel who are caught in the choppy waters, both along the western and eastern coasts of India.

On Monday, 20 crew members from Jindal Kamakshi, a merchant ship heading to Mundra port, were rescued after their vessel sunk.

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