23 stranded workers rescued from listing barge near Ullal

23 stranded workers rescued from listing barge near Ullal
The Indian Coast Guard and Coastal Security Force on Sunday rescued 23 persons who were stranded in a listing barge, around 300 metres from the Arabian Sea coast near Ullal since Saturday.

The barge with 27 workers began listing after it hit a boulder on Saturday. The workers were engaged for building an offshore reef in the sea to check sea erosion. The  Coast Guard personnel rescued four workers on Saturday night and suspended the operation due to inclement weather.

The Indian Coast Guard resumed the rescue operation around 6 am on Sunday. The Coast Guard ship ICGS Amartya maintained its position in area throughout the night with continuous communication with persons in the dredger.

On Sunday, Indian Coast Guard Hovercraft, ACV H-196 was deployed for assistance. Due to the heavy swell and breaking waves, the movement of hovercraft was restricted and ICGS Rajdoot, which was standby ship, was sailed at 7.15 am for the rescue operation.

Meanwhile, ICGS Amartya lowered its dinghy, ‘Gemini’ at 6.10 am and commenced rescuing of the remaining 23 persons from dredger Ibis.

Despite inclement weather conditions and strong winds, the ‘Gemini’ continued to ferry the stranded workers from listing dredger to ICGS Amartya. 

As there were boulders and reef near the barge and the sea was rough,even the dinghy could not move closer to the barge. As a result, the trapped persons jumped into the sea wearing life jacket and climbed onto the dinghy. The entire operation was seamlessly coordinated amongst various stakeholders, said Coast Guard Karnataka Commander DIG S S Dasila.

The barge is still at the mishap spot. A team of experts from Mumbai will inspect the barge on Monday. The barge is built in Singapore at an estimated cost of Rs 33 crore.

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