Navy saves 13 from tilting ONGC rig off Andhra coast

The tilted deck of the ONGC oil rig in the Bay of Bengal off Andhra Pradesh coast. Photo: Twitter/@indiannavy

In a daring operation, elite MARCOs of the Indian Navy rescued 13 members of the abandoned Olinda Star, an offshore platform of the state-owned ONGC, off Kakinada coast in Andhra Pradesh on Friday.

The lives of the technical team trying to stabilise the valuable rig were put to danger as the damaged oil rig tilted further on Friday.

The rig was damaged due to the Phenthai cyclone. The elite naval force airlifted all the crew members with the help of INS Chetlat, a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft.

The 35-year-old rig, which was located in the KG Basin between Kakinada and Yanam, was abandoned as a precaution following an alert of the severe cyclone from the Meteorological Department.

However, the crew members remained on the abandoned rig as there was no way to bring them back to the shore in the inclement weather. The ONGC then requested the Indian Navy, which has pressed its elite force from INS Dega located in nearby Visakhapatnam, the Eastern Naval Command headquarters.

Moreover, the Navy has pressed into service choppers to stabilise the excavation rig. As per the ONGL officials in Kakinada, the rig was installed by a Brazilian company while the ONGC takes care of its maintenance.  

The semi-submersible rig can drill up to 600 meters. The ONGC has said that the operations on the rig will start soon after stabilising the rig damaged in the cyclone.

After the successful mission, the Navy tweeted: "Indian Navy airlifts Technical Team on damaged Oil Rig Olinda Star in KG Basin by deploying a UH3H helicopter from INS Dega. The helo airlifted technical team & crew members of Olinda Star, a semi-submersible drilling platform in KG Basin off Kakinada @SpokespersonMoD."

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