Weather conditions deteriorated rapidly: Afcons

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Afcons Infrastructure said on Thursday that the weather conditions in the Arabian Sea deteriorated rapidly from the evening of May 16, reaching levels far worse than predicted on the May 17.

The death toll in the Pappa-305 barge tragedy near the Bombay High Fields caused by Cyclone Tauktae increased to 37 with 11 more bodies getting recovered, officials said on Thursday. Afcons Infrastructure Ltd (AIL) had contracted the sunken barge.

“The sudden deterioration of weather left no time at all for any further action to be taken by the Master of the vessel,” Afcons said in a statement.

“On May 14 itself, all our vessels were advised to secure their respective work locations and move to a safe location at the earliest. Accordingly, all vessels and barges, including P305, commenced moving out of their work locations on May 14/15. While the other barges moved to Mumbai Port/Mumbai Outer Anchorage /Anchorage close to Revandanda, the Master of P305 chose to move 200 m away from the HT platform where the Barge P305 was working, and to remain at that location, deciding this as a safe location since the max predicted wind speed was only 40 Knots and his location was 120 NM away from the eye of the tropical storm,” Afcons said.

“Unfortunately, the weather conditions deteriorated rapidly from the evening of May 16, reaching levels far worse than predicted on May 17. The sudden deterioration of weather left no time at all for any further action to be taken by the Master of the vessel,” it added.

“Afcons chartered the vessel from Durmast. Charting is not same as subcontracting. Durmast is the owner and the responsibility for marine operations rests with the vessel owner and his marine crew stationed on the vessel. Afcons, as charterer deploys its construction workmen and supervisors, who stay on the barge and carry out construction/ revamp work on the platform,” it said.

“Till the afternoon of May 19, 186 of 261 people on board Pappa 305 were reported rescued. At this point, search and rescue operations are our main objective. We are coordinating with ONGC, Indian Navy, and Coast Guard to locate the missing personnel through continuing search operations,” the statement said.

–IANS

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