11 crewmen rescued from drifting cargo ship off Raigad

Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) In a daring operation, the Indian Coast Guard braved stormy weather Monday to rescue 11 out of 16 crewmen from a drifting cargo vessel in the Arabian Sea off Maharashtra's Raigad, an official said here.

At 11.20 a.m., the Coast Guard's Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre here received a call that the ship M.V. Priyanka was tilting dangerously around three km off Revdanda Port in Raigad.

There were a total of 16 Indian crewmen on the vessel which had left Mumbai port Sunday with a cargo of 1,900 tonnes of iron pellets.

Early Monday, the vessel broke anchor near Revdanda and started drifting due to the inclement weather, rough sea, strong winds and heavy rain.

The Coast Guard immediately deployed a Chetak helicopter from Mumbai for the rescue mission, and the personnel managed to airlift 11 of the crew. It was later learnt that five others had abandoned the vessel on a life raft after it (the vessel) tilted precariously.

The crewmen were handed over to the local authorities.

The abandoned vessel is being closely monitored by all agencies concerned, the official said.