New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Four days after Cyclone Tauktae smashed through India’s west coast, 38 ONGC oil workers are still missing after a barge carrying 261 people sank 35 nautical miles off Mumbai coast off at Heera oil field in Bombay High. As the hopes of finding the survivors continue to recede on Thursday, the Indian Navy has deployed its optimal search and rescue apparatus across the Arabian sea.

Indian Navy has deployed Navy ships INS Kochi, INS Kolkata, INS Beas, INS Betwa, INS Teg, P8I maritime surveillance aircraft, Chetak, ALH helicopters in the ongoing rescue operations. The Indian Navy managed to rescue 186 workers who were on-board P-305 barge. At the same time, 37 bodies were recovered from the sunken wreckage of the barge. A total of three barges – P-305, Gal constructor, and Support Station-3 deployed on contract for ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation).

The Indian Navy continues to lead its massive rescue operation to detect the survivors from the sunken barges that went adrift as cyclone Tauktae made its way to the coastline along Maharashtra, Gujarat and Daman and Diu.

"The Navy's Search and Rescue (SAR) operations entered the fourth day today. Naval ships and aircraft are presently undertaking SAR of the missing crew members of Accommodation Barge P-305, which sank on Monday 35 miles off Mumbai," a Navy spokesperson said.

Earlier on Wednesday, in a massive success to the ongoing rescue operations the Indian Navy managed to rescue 137 people on-board Gal constructor barge, news agency PTI reported. The second missing barge – Support Station-3 along with a drill ship Sagar Bhushan – have also been located by INS Talwar and is being towed back to Mumbai harbor. All 201 people on-board Support Station-3 have been reported to be safe.

Navy ships were deployed on Monday after the Navy wa informed that barge 'P305' had gone adrift off the Heera oi fields in Bombay high area with 261 personnel on board. The oil fields are around 70 km southwest of Mumbai.

Cyclone Tauktae, which became the most powerful storm to hit the Arabian sea since 1998 wreaked havoc along India’s western coast as it moved from Kerala to Gujarat, where it made landfall between Gujarat’s Una and Daman and Diu’s Diu on Monday 8:30 pm.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan