New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: INS Makar, tasked with the search for crew members of Barge P305, which sank off the Mumbai coast six days ago during Cyclone Tauktae, completed the operation on Sunday. A total of 188 survivors, including two rescued from tugboat Varaprada, and mortal remains of 70 crew members have been recovered so far. 

"Mortal remains of 70 people recovered from Barge P305, with 188 survivors. Diving on Barge P305 wreck completed by INS Makar and no bodies found. INS Makar to locate Tug Varaprada wreck tomorrow. Search and rescue to locate remaining crew of sunken vessels to continue," the Defence PRO said in a statement. 

The list of those missing may get a lot shorter if it is confirmed that the 14 bodies recovered along the Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts in the last few days are those of the barge and tugboat personnel, an official said.

"Those found ashore are yet to be identified," the official said. While eight bodies were recovered on Raigad coast in Maharashtra, six were found on Valsad coast in Gujarat.

Navy divers on Saturday located the wreckage of P305. The barge which had 261 personnel on board, sank on Monday. While 70 are dead and 186 rescued so far, there is no trace yet of five personnel.

There is also no trace yet of 11 of the 13 personnel who were on board tugboat Varaprada, which also went adrift due to the cyclonic storm. Two persons on Varaprada have been rescued so far.

Barge P-305, which housed personnel engaged in maintenance work for an offshore oil drilling platform of state-run ONGC, sank on Monday evening off the Mumbai coast as cyclone Tauktae blew past towards Gujarat.

The search for the missing personnel will continue through the night, the official said. The Navy also deployed specialised diving teams to boost the search and rescue (SAR) operations.

While all the 440 persons on barges Gal Constructor and Support Station 3 (SS-3) and drillship Sagar Bhushan were brought ashore to safety recently, Naval and Coast Guard vessels and aircraft scoured the waters off the Mumbai coast as the search and rescue operations entered the seventh day on Sunday.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta